The next step in our month of spring cleaning our finances, is to review the status of our short-term insurance policies.

When shopping around for short-term insurance, promises of discounts, no claim bonus pay-outs and added extras can easily sweep you away, when what you really need is reliable, transparent insurance.

From shopping around for the best policy and premium, to comparing providers, Ecsponent has compiled five of the top insurance policy priorities.

1.     Compare apples with apples


When shopping around, it is worth considering that cheap is often cheap for a reason. Rather than just looking for the cheapest option, narrow down the possibilities based on those that meet your unique requirements.  Depending on your needs, you may need basic third party cover for your car or comprehensive cover for your household contents and family vehicles.

This may seem a bit intimidating at first but there are a number of online aggregators that can help you. Alternatively, ask your broker for suggestions.


2.     Don’t forget to check your excess


Insurers often drive down monthly premiums by hiking excess amounts. The excess is the amount you will need to contribute in the event of a claim.

If you are aware of this elevated excess amount and can budget accordingly, it can work for you. However, if you’re not prepared, the effects can be devastating in the event of an unexpected claim.


3.     Make sure you have proof


When insuring your household contents, make sure you have proof of ownership in the event of a claim. Save receipts and take photos annually of the inside of your house and any high-value items you own to claim hassle-free in future.


4.     Review regularly


It is ideal to review your vehicle, home and household content insurance annually.  Not only will the value and nature of your assets change, but the insured values must be updated too.

Many insurers require that you provide an annual valuation of your high-value specified items such as jewellery, camera’s, I-pads and phones. By complying with this, you are more likely to enjoy a hassle-free claim process. However, it is also useful to review values of other items, specified or not. For example, if you bought and insured a vehicle of R 300,000 in 2010, it will be worth much less today. Not all insurers reduce the insured value of vehicles annually. It is up to you to request a reduction in the insured value.


5.     Beware of new insurance options such as identity cover


According to a public announcement by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) in February, data shared on social media sites are “a valuable source of information for criminals.” In the statement Sabric warned the public to refrain from sharing personal information on any social media platforms.

Identity thieves can use this data to apply for, and obtain credit in your name and disappear thereafter – leaving a trail of debt, which you will be responsible for if you want to protect your credit record.

Many insurance providers have added identity theft cover as an option for a personal policy. Living in the digital age of online identities, such options are important to protect yourself in line with the changes in criminal focus.

Your insurance policy is a legal contract and should not be taken lightly so be sure to spend some time doing your homework, reading the fine print and selecting the best policy and provider for you.