Home LifeStyleFinance When life brings change, keep your insurer informed

When life brings change, keep your insurer informed

by Tania Griffin
A family posing for a photo

The real value of vehicle and household insurance is that it offers us peace of mind, allowing us to go about our daily lives in the knowledge that the value of our prized possessions is protected. It’s a quiet assurance that we have protection to help us navigate life’s uncertainties.

Susan Hunt, chief actuary at Nedbank Insurance, emphasises that having an insurance policy also comes with an obligation to take proper care of our possessions, act responsibly and keep our insurer informed of any changes in our lives or circumstances that could affect our cover.

“It’s essential to remember that when your life changes, your insurance may have to change, too. Stay in touch with your insurer and keep them updated on anything that could change your risk profile,” she explains.

She further points out that keeping your insurer informed is not just good advice – it’s a critical responsibility that, if not fulfilled, could prove very costly when the time comes to claim.

Let’s say you’ve decided to add a new room to your house, like adding a patio, or doing some enhancements to your vehicle. These are substantial changes that can alter the terms of your insurance coverage. If you don’t notify your insurer, you may find yourself underinsured – or not even covered at all.

“Imagine the financial implications of discovering too late that your new home extension, in which you’ve invested so much, is not covered – simply because you didn’t notify your insurer and ask them to update your insurance policy,” Hunt adds.

And it’s not just about losing out on some money when you claim. Failing to update your insurer can lead to even more severe consequences, like a potential breach of your insurance agreement, which could see a future claim rejected entirely.

It is vitally important to understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, and it’s your duty to let the insurer know of any significant life changes. Take caution and call your insurer whenever a change happens and make sure your belongings are always protected and fully covered.

Hunt also says that notifying your insurer of a change is a useful opportunity to check your cover and update it to fit your current situation. “Like life, insurance is not static. It’s a dynamic contract that needs to constantly evolve as your life progresses. Keeping your insurer in the loop prevents any surprises and allows you to check that your cover is still sufficient if things have changed in your life.”

She highlights that there’s a vast spectrum of changes that could affect all your insurance policies – not just your home and vehicle cover. Alterations to your property, moving home, buying new household items, changing jobs, or a shift in your personal circumstances like marriage, childbirth or an inheritance – all these can have a significant impact on the various types of insurance cover you have.

Remember that notifying your insurer of changes doesn’t automatically mean your premiums will go up; some of the changes you make could reduce the cost of your insurance. For example, if you upgrade your home security, or move to a safer neighbourhood, telling your insurer could improve your risk profile and reduce your premiums. Even if that’s not the case, the simple fact is that your insurer can only offer you the most suitable cover for your needs if they are always fully informed about your personal circumstances.

“It’s valuable to understand that insurance is much more than just a product; it’s a partnership between you and your insurance provider. You must actively participate in keeping your cover in line with your needs. Report any life and circumstance changes as soon as they happen so that your insurance safety net is always in place to protect you when you need it most,” Hunt concludes.

Image credit: prostooleh/Freepik

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