10 Jun

Theories and misconceptions about insurance abound. There are those who argue that they don’t need comprehensive vehicle insurance cover because they are good drivers. Others say insurance is just a luxury and not a necessity, as such, there is no need to waste the little money that they have paying insurance.

Still others say, “Why should I buy a life policy, as if I don’t have relatives to take care of my family when I am gone?”

What normally frustrates policyholders is when they religiously pay their premiums but their claims are rejected for one reason or the other.

To avoid situations where a claim is rejected when you need it most, there are a couple of simple steps one can take to make sure that what you are paying for is the cover you need and that all the potential risks are taken care of.

a) Know and understand exactly what you are covered for. Insurance is specific, if you have vehicle insurance, it might be covering accidents, fire and theft but not accident as a result of negligence, for instance, an accident as a result of drunken driving or because the person driving was not licensed or because you were breaking the law when an accident occurred.

b) Get your policy schedule or document. This is the document that explains to you what you are covered for and the term of the policy. It also spells out the policy exclusions (what is not covered). It is important to read this schedule and understand it. You can also ask your agent or broker to explain what you don’t understand in the document.

c) Ask questions, do not assume. For instance, when does the policy start covering you? Is the cover immediate or there is a waiting period? And how long is the waiting period?

d) If you do not believe what your agent has told you, many insurance companies have toll free numbers, ask for it, call and talk to a professional staff who can clarify everything.

e) Do not buy insurance from touts on the streets. Only buy from registered insurance companies and brokers with fixed offices.

f) And if you feel you have not been fairly treated by any insurance company, you can report to IPEC, free of charge.

There are some who think insurance is a preserve for the rich and the formally employed yet our thrust as the regulator is that everyone should have access to insurance regardless of their financial status. It is for that reason that the Commission came up with the Micro-insurance Framework, which makes it possible for insurance companies to introduce products that are affordable and accessible to low-income earners and those with irregular income.