Insurance works a kind of magic for me. It means that my fears about “the worst” are diminished because I know that the financial side of things would be taken care of. This doesn’t mean that I don’t fear burglary or a car accident or death, but it does mean that at least I’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s to make sure that any of these things wouldn’t make a financial wreck of my life or my family’s.
So, yes, I am well insured. My car is insured, my household belongings are insured, my home is insured, my life is insured, all my portables are insured and my income is insured. I’ve got all of that covered. But what I don’t have covered is the annual admin you’re supposed to do to make sure that everything that’s insured is insured right.
Then, recently, my husband and I went on a serious cost-saving drive. We started shopping where it’s cheapest. We cut out a significant portion of our latte factor expenses. I went to see a guy about my tax. I made a plan to pay off any outstanding credit. And then I got ready to tackle my insurance…
Tackling my insurance is a thing that I know I should do every year. I write about this stuff – I’m practically an expert! But honestly, I’m quite busy and it’s a bit boring. But it had to be done. I knew that I was overpaying on my household insurance in particular and I urgently needed to dedicate some time to sorting that out, which means going through the entire policy line by line and considering the costs and the relevance of each item.
So I made myself a cup of tea (not a latte), and phoned the lovely lady at my brokerage. Here is what we did: First we removed two iPods that I was paying insurance on that I don’t use and are barely functional (I mean, who even uses an iPod anymore?). Then we updated some of the details about our home security and where our cars are parked. And a number of other items were tweaked or reduced.
The total reduction? It pains me to type this. R900. At the end of this month, I will be paying R900 less for my household insurance than I was last month. That’s a whole lot of lattes. But you know what really hurts? What really hurts is that I should have done this last year, and the year before that. R900 is a knock that I can take in one month, but R10 800 over the last year is quite a blow. I mean, that’s a holiday or a whole new summer wardrobe or a big whack off my credit card debt.
It wasn’t even an epiphany. I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind that I was overpaying. I just didn’t put on my big girl hat and fix it, while weeks became months and months became years.
Don’t be me! I can’t promise you that you will save as much as I did. And I should probably mention that the same admin will probably result in you paying higher premiums on your income protection insurance because your income has probably gone up since you first took out the cover. But the point of insurance is to cover you for your income, your circumstances and your belongings exactly as they are at this point in time – so it’s worth revisiting your policies every year, and hopefully you will save yourself a bucket.
And here’s another bit of clever advice: If you do get a reduction in premiums, don’t just let it waft aimlessly around in your bank account until you spend it. Take exactly that amount and save it or invest it so that at the end of the next year, you have saved up enough for a holiday, 10 pairs of fancy shoes or 540 lattes.
Georgina Guedes is a writer, editor and content producer with a passion for reading, eating and travel. She has learnt a lot in her journey as a personal finance writer, and even manages to put some of it into practice! She lives in Johannesburg with her husband, two children, two dogs a cat and a white picket fence. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life or its employees.