It’s always hard to consider the future let alone considering something going wrong in the future. It’s incomprehensible! But what if it did? We’re not necessarily able to have enough in savings to ensure we’re covered for every eventuality, particularly if something serious happened. Insurances give us that piece of mind that if something did go wrong at least we know there are measures in place and our wishes can be carried out. Of course having assurances in place can be a costly affair, costing hundreds of pounds per household per year.
There is an extensive amount of assurance products out there but how can you tell what you is right for you and what it is you need? Unfortunately there is no simple solution- it’s about conducting research, looking at the various sources of information on the web, using impartial representation such as broker/financial advisor to do the searching for you, contact with insurance companies/solicitors directly and/or relying on friends and acquaintances who might deal in specific avenues of insurance/wills. We also have to succumb to the fact that, in the case of most policies, we pay quite a bit of money for insurances but see no immediate benefit except a depletion in our monthly earnings.
The types of policies available
- Home insurance– contents only for those renting, builder and content for those that own
- Car insurance– must have by law; basic policy is third party
- Pet insurance– it is ideal to have if you have pets (The Telegraph reports that a dog injured in a road traffic accident can cost £674 and £300 for a cat, with more serious conditions costing £4,000)
- Holiday insurance– covers a number of things and can include breaks in the UK. More essential for European or international holidays which will cover you on cancelled flights, severe weather conditions and can aid in treatment abroad should you fall ill.
- Life insurance– is for a payout when you die to loved ones. This usually covers large debts, with some mortgage companies insist you have one. A life insurance policy may also cover you in cases of serious illnesses with payouts on diagnosis.
- Wills– are ideal to express your wishes for your finances and assets and how children will be cared for. We’ve compiled a guide to will writing that you may find helpful. There are also some common questions explored on The Will Site. Wills are only implemented in the event of your death, you may also want to consider;
- Power of Attorney– setting up a Power of Attorney means that you’ve nominated an attorney or relative to handle your affairs (can include finances and well being) when you’re no longer able to make or communicate decisions yourself. See MoneySavingExpert.com for more information. If you do not have a power of attorney in place when you lose mental capacity, a process to act on your behalf can be lengthy and costly for your relatives. Moreover, you’re unable to nominate someone you trust to make these important decisions on your behalf.
But the above is just a taster of the policies available, the offerings under each policy will require much thought and consideration in determining what is right for you and your loved ones.
Why set up a life/serious illness insurance policy?
We all like to plan for the future whether that’s buying a house, a car or simply putting money away for a rainy day. Taking out life cover and/or serious illness cover is simply planning for the things that you don’t see coming.
What is the difference between life insurance, serious illness insurance and income protection?
These are 3 core covers. You can have 1, 2 or all 3 as part of your personal protection plan:
Life cover pays a cash lump sum to your family or other nominated person upon your death when covered. Some policies also pay a cash lump sum if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Serious illness cover pays a cash lump sum if you are diagnosed with a condition that is covered. You may get a part or full payment of the policy, depending on the severity of the illness.
Income protection cover will pay a monthly income if you become ill, injured, or disabled and cannot work.
How much insurance is needed?
This depends on an individual’s circumstances. When pursuing an inquiry, you will be assessed based on your own individual needs; whether it be to ensure that a mortgage is paid off, or to leave a lump sum to loved ones.
I already have an insurance policy am I able to switch providers?
Off course, but it’s always worth checking with your current provider first.
Often, people find that their life cover isn’t doing what they need it to do. A policy needs to be reviewed each time your circumstances change; be that if you move house, borrow more money etc. to ensure you have the right coverage.
If I have an insurance policy in place do I still need a Will?
Yes, a will is your last wishes and can ensure that what you leave behind goes where and when you want it to. Without a will, you die intestate. This means that estranged partners may lay claim to your assets, your children may be put into care and/or you could leave loved ones in financial difficulty.
Most advisers offer free consultations as do insurance providers. It’s at least worth having a conversation with them to better understand your individual position. If you’re looking for further financial tips, check out our other Money Matters related features below.