25 Nov 2014

Protection ... Do You Need It?

Being at home, I get the opportunity to enjoy some day time television. It's pretty rare though as ABC4Kids usually gets precedence over anything I want to watch.

The one thing I noticed about day time viewing is the amount of insurance ads that gets aired and the variety of products, such as insurance for cars, insurance to protect you, insurance for your dogs, insurance to cover your funeral costs ... the list goes on.

Insurance, in particular life insurance, is something that we hear about, we see on tv but most people don't actually understand what it is. Discussing life insurance can be uncomfortable too because it's talking about protecting yourself from situations that you don't want to happen.

I worked in the insurance industry for many years. I wasn't in sales but in IT, in particular the project side of the companies I worked for. I helped these companies build or configure their systems around the products they offered the public. Over the years I finally got my head around the differences between the various insurance products, information I will try to explain so you too can understand the differences.
Note: My explanations and examples are very general. Every insurance product on the market varies and have different terms, conditions and exclusions. Considering any product you should read the Product Disclosure Statement to understand what these are.
What is life insurance?  It is a contract agreement between you (or name of person whose name is on the policy) and insurance company that they will pay a set amount of money if a certain event occurs. How much and what event would trigger a claim depends on the type of life insurance product you have and the conditions of the contract.  The main life insurance products available on the market are:

Insurance policy to cover your life. Its an amount paid to your nominated beneficiaries when you die. For example if you died, your partner or family will get a set sum amount from the insurance company where your policy was held.

A lump sum amount paid to your family to cover the costs associated with your funeral in the event of your death. For example you died, your family would get a set amount of money to cover the funeral costs from the insurance company your funeral cover was with.

Income Protection
Insurance to cover your salary (or part of it) in the event you're unable to work, ensuring you're still receiving an income. For example if you got really sick due to a major illness like cancer and required extended time off work for treatment, this insurance product will supplement your salary while you're away from work.

Total & Permanent Disablement
Insurance policy where you would be awarded a lump sum amount of money in the event you're unable to work due to an illness. For example if you were in a car accident, you became paralysed and unable to continue working, this insurance product will award you a set amount of money.

Insurance where you are awarded a set amount of money in the event you are diagnosed with a critical illness. The difference with this product is that it does not rely on your ability to go to work. For example you own a trauma policy and you find out you have cancer. You can claim against this policy to be awarded an amount of money that could go towards the medical costs.

I didn't want to go into great detail about these products, unless you guys want me to .. and happy to do that too, in a future post. 

So should you get some form of life insurance? Some say life insurance is a waste of money. So is gym membership if you're not going to the gym. It's completely a personal choice and something to really think about.

My personal thoughts are, you insure your car, why not insurer your self? Without you, that car insurance wouldn't get paid anyways. When you have children you tend to wonder whether they'll be okay if you were not around, and putting a plan into place to ensure they are is only natural. 

If you're thinking about or want to know more about these types of products, do speak to an advisor who is qualified to give you financial advice. They should assess your situation and determine the best product or products for your needs. Or at least be able to answer all your questions and hopefully explain and educate you more on life insurance.  

I hope I have explains the different types of life insurance products out there clearly. Let me know if not or if you would like further explanation on any products. Is there a life insurance term or word you've heard and curious to know what it means? What are your thoughts on life insurance in general?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT
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