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5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Advisor

April 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Editor in Articles

If you are out shopping for a brand new insurance policy or are looking to trade up from an old one to a better deal then you’ll want to make sure that you choose not only the right company but also the right insurance advisor.

You have every right as a consumer to make the choices that you want and by making sure you ask the right questions you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed choice. Many insurance company host websites with a suite of services available even if you are not a client, such as the ability to check out life insurance quotes on their sites.

1. How do you handle a claim?
You’ll want to know what the policy is for the insurance company when a client has to make a claim. The best situation is one that is relatively painless and one that your insurance advisor is capable of helping you through. Understanding the intricacies of insurance law can be tricky for the smartest of consumers, but that is your advisor’s specialty, and they should be willing and able to help you through the claims process.
Understanding how a claim is handled is especially important when you need to be reimbursed for the claim amount. Consider a situation where you are not at fault for a traffic collision, does your company require you to pay the deductible before they reimburse you, or will they waive the deductible in the event that the incident was not your fault.

2. What are the policies for adjusting rates?
Believe it or not, many insurance companies are not upfront about adjusting the premiums on your policies. You may not notice when the rates go down, but you’ll certainly notice when they go up, and some companies have a policy that means you are unlikely to be informed in the event of a rate increase. Before you get blindsided by surprise rate adjustments make sure that you know what the policies are when it comes to the adjustment of your premiums.

3. Do you offer any discounts?
Everyone wants to save a little money, or ideally as much money as you can and asking for discounts is something many people aren’t aware they can even ask for. Many insurance companies offer a variety of discounts for different situations, for example auto insurers offering to reduce rates for clients who have taken defensive driving courses. Other examples of discounts might include ones for certain age groups or for having multiple people insured under the same policies, or savings from paying for the policy in full.

4. What are the guarantees?
For insurance policies such as life insurance you want to know what the policies are guaranteed to cover. You also want to know what the policies do not cover. For life insurance policies in particular you will want to know what will remain a steady figure and won’t change based on changes in economic markets.
This is also a good time to ask what happens to a life insurance or health insurance policy in the event that your health changes. How will this affect your premiums or your deductibles?

5. What happens if I can’t pay?
If the worst should happen and you are unable to fulfill your financial obligations to your insurance policy you’ll want to know what your options are. Losing a policy you have paid into for the last several years is painful. Many companies offer contingency plans such as an option for income protection insurance that can help you pay your bills in the event that you end up out of work for an extended period of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask more!

Remember, you’re the one buying into a policy. It is your money and the burden of being an informed consumer is on you. Ask any and all question you have, find the right agent that can answer all of them. You’ll feel better knowing that you were fully informed and you made the best decision that you could.

Mark Haberfield is a creative bloke who focuses on life’s frequent waves of change. When he’s not spearfishing on the NSW south coast, Mark writes for AAMI life insurance.

This material is not intended to constitute personal advice, and must not be relied on as such. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Before making a decision based on this material, you should consider the appropriateness of this material having regard to your own objectives financial circumstances and needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any decision.

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