Sadly insurance is a necessary part of our daily life to protect dependents, assets and even our income. Here are three simple pain-less tips that will help when it comes to all types of insurance – life, health and general:

1.            CHECK YOUR LIFE AND HEALTH COVER
On the one hand, you could be over insured and on the other you could also require cover where you don’t have it. It’s worth doing a review of all your insurances. Are you getting the best value for your money? Not that we want to think about it but it is important to face these questions before getting on with living so...What happens if you or your spouse die or become permanently incapacitated? Most employers pay full salary for six months, then 50% for the next six months after which you are on your own. How are you fixed in this scenario? If you took out life cover, which is mandatory for anyone under 50 years of age when securing a mortgage, you may have been a smoker at the time. Once you are smoke free for 12 months, you could save yourself over 50% of the annual premiums. Worth checking out.

Also remember once you have dependents, you do need additional separate cover until those same children have completion third level education when your responsibility as a parent should end… at least you hope it will! The normal method for calculating this requirement is 10 times your joint net annual income less any Death In Service benefits until completion of your youngest’s third level education.

2.            COMPARE HEALTH INSURANCES
With only four health insurers in Ireland (VHI, Aviva, LAYA & GloHealth), it is really important you continually update yourself on the best deal for you. The Health Insurance Authority does an excellent comparison of all three and updates it – check out hia.ie It can be confusing and you need to review each year as your circumstances may change. Another websites that compares the four insurers is bonkers.com 

3.            CHECK YOUR GENERAL INSURANCES
Is your cover for your home buildings and contents competitive? If you have commercial or residential investment property insurance, is that competitive too? Car insurance still remains to be the least loyal insurance for consumers. Taking that lead, when your car insurance renewal comes through that letterbox, the first thing you should be doing is calling a competitor for their rates. Do you also require any special risk insurance that you ‘risked’ being without to date – you may not be so ‘lucky’ next year e.g. your mobile home insurance! Public liability, professional indemnity, computer hacker/virus insurance?

Worth taking note: A recent National Consumer Agency survey looked at seven sample consumers across the country and found that, you could make significant savings on your home insurance. Where all companies provided a quote, the average potential saving was €318!

Case Studies:

• Potential savings of up to €362 on the price of insurance for a 2-bed terraced house in Waterford City. The most expensive quote was €546, while the cheapest quote provided was for €184. The average quote for this profile was €278.

• The biggest percentage difference in quotes provided, 341%, was in Dublin for contents cover only, of €26,000 for a 2-bed apartment. The most expensive quote was €389 and the cheapest quote was €88.  The average quote for this profile was €181.

To sum up in two words, the advice is SHOP AROUND for any type of insurance and REVIEW – as I always say, its better in your pocket...

John Lowe

John Lowe is managing director of Providence Finance Services Limited trading as Money Doctor, regulated by the Central Bank and based in Stillorgan Co Dublin.  He is author of The Money Doctor 2016 (Gill & Macmillan) For consultations and corporate seminars, call (01) 278 5555 or email consultation@moneydoctor.ie  Follow John on Twitter (@themoneydoc), Linkedin and Pinterest.