With insurance costs on the rise, selecting the right income protection insurance or other insurance company right for you can be a little confusing. It is important to remember that insurance companies are like any other and they are selling products and services to make profit. Too many people pay money for years only to find out that their insurance company finds a way to not honour their payment in a time of need. So how do we deal with this issue?
Get over the marketing. Insurance companies have a million and one ways to try and convince us they are reliable and will always be there for you. With names like 'Trust', 'Care', 'Life Long' (disclaimer - these are only examples and do not refer to any particular company) you have to understand that they will use all the possible tools of marketing to get your business. When it comes to paying out your claim they have an entirely different approach. Ignore names, branding, images and the like. Understand that it is all marketing and not making legal promises. What counts is what you pay and what you get - nothing else.
Get real about them not paying. Many insurance companies, including life insurance, home and contents etc, have particular people that are employed not to pay you. This has been exposed a number of times in the media and you need to get real about it. Individuals or organisations that increase their income to find ways to knock back claims. Insurance companies would not make money if they paid out more than they earned. So not paying is something that they must take seriously. They must investigate situation and protect themselves against fraudulent claims, and this will mean many measures inside their company to investigate your claim. Because of the competitive nature of business, you can naturally expect those in the business of investigating claims to be paid incentives when finding legal reasons not to pay - this is just the nature of any modern business today.
Read their claims. Understand when you see a statement made by any company it does not mean they are making a legally binding agreement with you. Many statements are not legally binding agreements and are purely marketing. Don't be fooled by what is what.
Understanding contracts. The reality is that contracts are made up of many definitions and terms. You must refer to the definitions of these terms. The reason why a claim is not paid is often based on the definition of a word used in the contract. Do not take words in a contract to mean what they normally do in plain language.
So, can you trust your insurance company? The short answer is no. It is not a matter of trust or not, it is about understanding that you are entering into a legal agreement which will come under scrutiny at the time of your claim. It is important to note that many of us go straight for our policy and contracts when something happens to see if we are protected and this is exactly the point of this article and the approach we need to take with insurance companies. Know your contract, understand your obligations and rights. A good policy will be clear and concise.