Choosing an insurance policy: Step by step
When you think about financial planning in Cannonvale, Proserpine, Bowen and other parts of the Whitsunday Shire, what likely spring to mind are elements like investment portfolios, superannuation and savings accounts. It's all about building wealth so you can set yourself up for financial comfort.
Just as important as building the wealth, though, is keeping it and making sure your loved ones are financially protected without you. In this respect, selecting a good life insurance policy is a crucial part of financial planning.
Insurance through superannuation
The first thing to note is that you should already have a life insurance policy in place through your super. Most super funds offer some kind of life cover, and the default fund offered by your employer must offer a basic level of cover.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean you should be happy with it. Your fund's product disclosure statement, your member statement or a customer representative for your super fund should be able to provide you with details about your insurer, your existing cover and what other options are available. However, if you're not satisfied with what you're offered, it could be time to shop around.
Finding a new policy
Before you start comparing life insurance policies, you need to work out how much cover you need to make sure you and your family are protected. It's possible to get a quote from the Lifewise website, an initiative started by the Financial Services Council.
However, to be really sure about what you need and shop with confidence, it's worth talking to a qualified financial planner. They can assess your income, assets, debts and future expenses to come up with a thorough and accurate idea of what level of insurance you need.
When looking at the various offers out there, it's important to ask a number of questions. First of all, what types of insurance do you need? Different policies may offer multiple kinds of cover – not just life insurance, but income protection, major medical trauma cover and total and permanent disability insurance. If you need (or don't need) these, that should factor into your decision.
Additionally, how long do you need the cover for. It's no use paying for a policy that will only last a couple of years when you want it to be around for a couple of decades.
You should also ask a few key questions of the policy:
- Who is covered, and who isn't?
- How large is your payout?
- What conditions are covered?
- How many beneficiaries is it possible to have?
- Will you be covered if you leave the country?
- Is there a time limit to claim?
Finally, be sure to get a quote and compare premiums or find a financial planner who can offer a variety of insurers' policies rather than just their parent companies. But remember – if the price is high, this is not necessarily the deciding factor. Weigh up everything before making a decision. After all this is about your family, not your bank account.