Monday, November 19, 2018

Avoid These Six Common Life Insurance Mistakes

Life insurance is one of the most important components of any individual's financial plan. However there is lot of misunderstanding about life insurance, mainly due to the way life insurance products have been sold over the years in India. We have discussed some common mistakes insurance buyers should avoid when buying insurance policies.

1. Underestimating insurance requirement: Many life insurance buyers choose their insurance covers or sum assured, based on the plans their agents want to sell and how much premium they can afford. This a wrong approach. Your insurance requirement is a function of your financial situation, and has nothing do with what products are available. Many insurance buyers use thumb rules like 10 times annual income for cover. Some financial advisers say that a cover of 10 times your annual income is adequate because it gives your family 10 years worth of income, when you are gone. But this is not always correct. Suppose, you have 20 year mortgage or home loan. How will your family pay the EMIs after 10 years, when most of the loan is still outstanding? Suppose you have very young children. Your family will run out of income, when your children need it the most, e.g. for their higher education. Insurance buyers need to consider several factors in deciding how much insurance cover is adequate for them.

· Repayment of the entire outstanding debt (e.g. home loan, car loan etc.) of the policy holder

· After debt repayment, the cover or sum assured should have surplus funds to generate enough monthly income to cover all the living expenses of the dependents of the policy holder, factoring in inflation

· After debt repayment and generating monthly income, the sum assured should also be adequate to meet future obligations of the policy holder, like children's education, marriage etc.

2. Choosing the cheapest policy: Many insurance buyers like to buy policies that are cheaper. This is another serious mistake. A cheap policy is no good, if the insurance company for some reason or another cannot fulfil the claim in the event of an untimely death. Even if the insurer fulfils the claim, if it takes a very long time to fulfil the claim it is certainly not a desirable situation for family of the insured to be in. You should look at metrics like Claims Settlement Ratio and Duration wise settlement of death claims of different life insurance companies, to select an insurer, that will honour its obligation in fulfilling your claim in a timely manner, should such an unfortunate situation arise. Data on these metrics for all the insurance companies in India is available in the IRDA annual report (on the IRDA website). You should also check claim settlement reviews online and only then choose a company that has a good track record of settling claims.

3. Treating life insurance as an investment and buying the wrong plan: The common misconception about life insurance is that, it is also as a good investment or retirement planning solution. This misconception is largely due to some insurance agents who like to sell expensive policies to earn high commissions. If you compare returns from life insurance to other investment options, it simply does not make sense as an investment. If you are a young investor with a long time horizon, equity is the best wealth creation instrument. Over a 20 year time horizon, investment in equity funds through SIP will result in a corpus that is at least three or four times the maturity amount of life insurance plan with a 20 year term, with the same investment. Life insurance should always been seen as protection for your family, in the event of an untimely death. Investment should be a completely separate consideration. Even though insurance companies sell Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) as attractive investment products, for your own evaluation you should separate the insurance component and investment component and pay careful attention to what portion of your premium actually gets allocated to investments. In the early years of a ULIP policy, only a small amount goes to buying units.

A good financial planner will always advise you to buy term insurance plan. A term plan is the purest form of insurance and is a straightforward protection policy. The premium of term insurance plans is much less than other types of insurance plans, and it leaves the policy holders with a much larger investible surplus that they can invest in investment products like mutual funds that give much higher returns in the long term, compared to endowment or money back plans. If you are a term insurance policy holder, under some specific situations, you may opt for other types of insurance (e.g. ULIP, endowment or money back plans), in addition to your term policy, for your specific financial needs.

4. Buying insurance for the purpose of tax planning: For many years agents have inveigled their clients into buying insurance plans to save tax under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Investors should realize that insurance is probably the worst tax saving investment. Return from insurance plans is in the range of 5 - 6%, whereas Public Provident Fund, another 80C investment, gives close to 9% risk free and tax free returns. Equity Linked Saving Schemes, another 80C investment, gives much higher tax free returns over the long term. Further, returns from insurance plans may not be entirely tax free. If the premiums exceed 20% of sum assured, then to that extent the maturity proceeds are taxable. As discussed earlier, the most important thing to note about life insurance is that objective is to provide life cover, not to generate the best investment return.

5. Surrendering life insurance policy or withdrawing from it before maturity: This is a serious mistake and compromises the financial security of your family in the event of an unfortunate incident. Life Insurance should not be touched until the unfortunate death of the insured occurs. Some policy holders surrender their policy to meet an urgent financial need, with the hope of buying a new policy when their financial situation improves. Such policy holders need to remember two things. First, mortality is not in anyone's control. That is why we buy life insurance in the first place. Second, life insurance gets very expensive as the insurance buyer gets older. Your financial plan should provide for contingency funds to meet any unexpected urgent expense or provide liquidity for a period of time in the event of a financial distress.

6. Insurance is a one-time exercise: I am reminded of an old motorcycle advertisement on television, which had the punch line, "Fill it, shut it, forget it". Some insurance buyers have the same philosophy towards life insurance. Once they buy adequate cover in a good life insurance plan from a reputed company, they assume that their life insurance needs are taken care of forever. This is a mistake. Financial situation of insurance buyers change with time. Compare your current income with your income ten years back. Hasn't your income grown several times? Your lifestyle would also have improved significantly. If you bought a life insurance plan ten years ago based on your income back then, the sum assured will not be enough to meet your family's current lifestyle and needs, in the unfortunate event of your untimely death. Therefore you should buy an additional term plan to cover that risk. Life Insurance needs have to be re-evaluated at a regular frequency and any additional sum assured if required, should be bought.

Conclusion

Investors should avoid these common mistakes when buying insurance policies. Life insurance is one of the most important components of any individual's financial plan. Therefore, thoughtful consideration must be devoted to life insurance. Insurance buyers should exercise prudence against questionable selling practised in the life insurance industry. It is always beneficial to engage a financial planner who looks at your entire portfolio of investments and insurance on a holistic basis, so that you can take the best decision with regards to both life insurance and investments.



By: Dwaipayan Bose

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Get Affordable Home Insurance in Calgary

There are many reasons to get home insurance in Calgary. First of all, you want to make sure your house, cottage, or tenancy is covered for damage, theft, and flooding. Secondly, you want to know if you are overpaying for home insurance, and if you are, you want to know if you have access to a more affordable insurer. We can help you connect with a live insurance broker who will give you the information you need to insure your house in Calgary. You can also request a quote from at least 10 Canadian home insurers, so you can compare rates.

Typical Home Insurance Premiums
Home protection prices are different for rented and owned properties. Tenants insurance for rented homes covers the basic contents of a house and some liability (you may need a separate policy for fine art, wine collections, furs, and other expensive, atypical items). Tenants insurance is often cheaper than homeowners insurance.

Homeowners insurance covers the building and its exterior, as well as risks connected to theft, fire, earthquake, etc. Since the value of the building is much higher than the contents of a rented unit, homeowners insurance premiums are significantly higher than are the premiums for tenants insurance.

In order to have a broader picture of home insurance rates in Canada, here are statistics of the average home rates in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Canada. These statistics are provided by InsurEye.

In Alberta, monthly house insurance rates are typically $84 for homeowners and $49 for renters.

In Ontario, monthly home insurance rates are typically $78 for homeowners and $42 for renters.

In British Columbia, monthly home protection rates are typically $85 for homeowners and $47 for renters.

Across Canada, monthly home insurance rates are typically $77 for homeowners and $41 for renters.

Examples of Calgary Home Insurance Quotes
Home insurance quotes in Calgary depend on the size of a building, its location, and possible risks (like flooding). The following examples of house insurance quotes will help you better understand how much home insurance can potentially cost you:

· For a 2,800 square foot, two-storey house in Calgary, in the neighbourhood of Altadore near River Park, expect approximately $98 monthly ($1,176 a year).

· For an 850 square foot, two-bedroom condominium on the 12th floor in downtown Calgary, next to Central Memorial Park, the insurance costs are approximately $23 a month ($276 a year).

· For a one-storey house in Calgary, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, located close to 4th St NW and the Trans-Canada Highway, the insurance is approximately $62 monthly ($744 a year).

Flooding Coverage for Homes in Calgary
Since Calgary often sees flooding, every homeowner should be prepared for the possibility of this risk and should understand the main aspects of home protection and flooding. One thing you should keep in mind is that home protection in the flood-endangered areas of the city is more expensive because of the much higher risk.

There are four main types of flooding. It is important to remember that your home insurance policy treats each of them differently:

1. Overland flooding occurs as a consequence of water (rain or melting snow) entering your house from the outdoors. Standard insurance in Calgary does not cover expenses from overland flooding. However, some companies do provide coverage for this type of flooding at an additional cost.

2. Roof leakage can be covered or not covered, depending on the factors that caused it. If the roof was in poor condition from the beginning, your insurance provider will not cover the damage. Your home insurance will most likely cover damage from a natural cause, like hail.

3. Your insurer will cover plumbing issues, only if you comply with the rules in your policy, such as having somebody visit your home while you are not there for extended periods of time (for example, while you are on vacation).

4. Sewer backup happens when wastewater is driven back into your house. Traditional home protection does not cover this type of flooding. However, you can always purchase this type of coverage as an addition to your home insurance policy.

The Difference Between Condo and Tenants Insurance in Calgary
Owners of condos can purchase homeowners insurance for their condo. The condominium corporation purchases commercial condo insurance. The difference between these two policies is in what part of the condo they cover. The homeowners insurance covers the contents of the condominium. The coverage also includes protection for upgrades, locker contents, third party liability, theft, additional living expenses, and sometimes special insurance assessments.

The commercial condominium corporation's insurance covers the building's exterior (envelope), together with its infrastructure and common areas.

Condo renters in Calgary need tenants insurance to cover the contents of their condos. This type of protection is usually mandatory and is part of the rental contract. In addition to the coverage of contents against theft, fire, and other hazards, the insurance also extends to third party liability and additional living expenses. Living expenses are for the cases when the condo is unlivable (due to earthquake, flood, fire, etc.), so the renter is forced to live in a hotel or rental unit until the condo repairs are complete.

10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance in Calgary
Here are a few ways to save on your home coverage. For more savings, get an insurance quote and contact an insurance expert.

1. Professional membership. Members of unions or professional organizations can get a discount on their home insurance. Insurance companies, like Meloche Monnex Insurance, also provide their members with insurance policies.

2. Hydrant or fire station. If your home is close to one of these things, you can ask for a discount from your insurance provider.

3. Discounts for students. Some insurance providers give discounts for students. As for dependent students who live alone, their parent's home insurance may cover the insurance on their apartment at no additional charge. For example, Desjardins Insurance provides this discount.

4. Discounts for graduates. TD Insurance is an example of an insurer that offers discounts for graduates from post-secondary institutions like McGill University or the University of Toronto.

5. Quit smoking. Many insurance companies increase home protection premiums for smokers due to the potential fire risk.

6. Change your policy. Those with tenant insurance should rethink the size of their coverage - perhaps some things that do not have much value do not need additional coverage.

7. Security of your home. Does your home have additional security, like a doorman or security guard? This might get you a discount from your insurance provider.

8. Direct insurer. Also called a captive agent, a direct insurer represents one company and can offer their products for a cheaper price when compared to insurance agents or brokers.

9. Consumer reviews. Other home insurance consumers often share their experiences of purchasing insurance and making claims. Thanks to these insights, you will be able to avoid unexpected costs and overpayment.

10. Compare prices. You can get home insurance quote in Calgary for a cheaper price thanks to the price comparison tools that show you the rates of the same services provided by different insurance companies.


For more information about home insurance policies in your area, please visit https://insureye.com/



By: Alexey Saltykov