How to review your insurance policies
What’s your attitude to your insurance policies? Do you read the small print meticulously, keep the documents close to hand and check they still meet your needs every six months? Or are they in a drawer somewhere, last seen in, oh, about 2013?
If it’s the latter, read on! There are some types of insurance that you must have by law, such as car insurance, or that you need for mortgage purposes - home insurance - and so chances are your annual renewal notices force you to look at those once in a while! But when it comes to discretionary policies such as life cover, income protection and health insurance, you might be a bit sketchy on the details - and you’d be far from alone!
We often take out these kinds of policies following a big event such as the birth of a child or the death of a close relative, and then, having ticked that box, promptly forget all about them. But it’s important to review these policies regularly; after all, your circumstances change quite often, so why shouldn’t your insurance needs change too?
A good idea is to choose an annual point in which to carry out a brief review. Many of our customers like the ‘new leaf’ approach at the start of each year, and January and February are always busy for our sales team. Equally, you might want to choose a month that’s quiet for you (perhaps one in which those motor and home insurance policies don’t need reviewing and renewing!).
A simple way to make your review easier is to keep a notebook containing a one-page summary of each policy. This enables you to file away any heavy paperwork in the back of that drawer, while keeping the notebook close to hand. The kind of details to record for each policy include:
- The policy number
- The type of policy (eg: life insurance, critical illness)
- The date taken out and the time limit, if applicable
- The names of those insured
- The beneficiaries
- The monthly premiums
- The sum insured
As with many types of insurance product, private medical insurance (PMI) tends to be offered as a one-year contract and needs renewing annually. Your insurer should notify you at least 28 days before your renewal date and they will automatically renew the cover unless you tell them otherwise. It’s important to revisit your policy and change aspects if your circumstances have changed in the meantime.
For example, you might have had a baby or got married and many policies now include family cover for children and partners, while some health insurance policies give cash payments following the birth or adoption of a child. You might have pledged to become fitter, and some PMI providers offer cheaper gym membership or activity trackers when you take out a policy. Or you may be about to relocate to a new country and need international health insurance.
Whatever your circumstances, we can help you compare private medical insurance quotes. We’re committed to ensuring that all our customers have the right policy for their needs and lifestyle, and if switching health cover isn’t right for you, we’ll tell you!
Income protection covers you in the event of you being unable to work for a while due to accident, illness or compulsory redundancy. It’s linked to your salary and any staff sickness benefits you’re entitled to, so if your pay increases or you change jobs, you’ll need to check that you still have the right cover in place. Also, if you move home and your mortgage payments increase, you might need to top up your mortgage protection cover to ensure you’d be able to meet this large expense.
Life cover and critical illness
As with other types of insurance, your needs here could change with your circumstances. For example, many couples take out a joint life insurance policy but these tend only to pay out once, on the first death. If, therefore, your partner passes away, you might wish to take out a single policy, naming your children or dependents as beneficiaries. Life insurance and critical illness cover also take into consideration factors including your lifestyle and whether or not you smoke, so if you give up cigarettes or lose weight, switching to another policy might save you money.