What features should I look for in a car insurance policy?

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Most third party car insurance policies come with little in the way of expensive extras, making them easy to compare by price. However, if you decide on comprehensive cover there are a lot of additional options to consider. The best* policy for you should have all the extras you want, and nothing you don’t.

  • Damage to your vehicle.
    Some comprehensive insurance policies let you choose which hazards you want to be protected against. Select the hazards that are more likely to happen, and try to exclude the ones that definitely won’t.
  • Damage to other people’s property.
    This is the core of non-compulsory third party car insurance and typically offers up to $20 million worth of cover. It also comes with comprehensive insurance and you may be able to choose different limits for different prices.
  • Roadside assistance.
    A lot of people are happy to pay more for this extra, but some people prefer not to. You must decide if the convenience is worth the cost.
  • Choice of repairer.
    If you have a modified, classic, luxury or otherwise unique vehicle then this could be vital for you. More typically, however, it’s more a matter of convenience.
  • Lifetime repair guarantee.
    Many people prefer to have repairs done by the insurance company and be guaranteed for life.
  • Hire car after theft or damage.
    This is a common add-on recommended for people who are absolutely dependent on being able to drive and can’t rely on public transport as they wait for their car to be repaired or replaced.
  • Cover for personal property.
    Some comprehensive policies offer limited cover for possessions store in the car, usually up to several thousands of dollars. If you normally park on the street with trade tools, electronics, jewellery or other valuables in your car then this can be a valuable. Always check personal property cover for exclusions and limits.
  • Cover for baby capsules and child seats.
    If you don’t have children you should probably opt out of this extra.
  • Change of vehicle cover.
    If you plan on changing cars in the near future, this is worth looking for as a way to reduce or eliminate extra fees down the line.
  • Damage to your trailer or caravan.
    If you have a trailer or a caravan, this is recommended. As always, check the limits and exclusions to make sure you’re adequately covered.
  • New-for-old replacement vehicle.
    If your car is written off before a certain number of years, your insurance company will replace it with a new one. If this appeals to you, look for the insurer who offers it for the most number of years (usually between one and three), but first work out whether it’s worth the cost.
  • Towing and storage.
    If you use towing equipment and vehicle storage frequently it’s worth finding a policy to cover it.
  • Recoding of remotes and locks after theft.
    Late model vehicles are tempting targets for thieves and they often have remote control electronic locks. Car manufacturers take advantage of this by charging substantial prices for the recoding of remotes and locks after theft, so you could save by getting a plan that covers it.

What is the best car insurance?

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There is no single best car insurance policy. It all depends on your wants and needs.

If you’re driving a flashy new Mercedes, it’d be a smart idea to take out comprehensive cover as you’ve got a lot more to lose. Imagine writing your car off and being $100k out of pocket. Doesn’t sound ideal, does it?

But if you’re driving a piece of junk, third party property damage could have the cover you need as you’re not paying to replace a car you (probably) wouldn’t miss.

The most important thing when shopping for car insurance is to not be fooled simply by price. Sure, price is definitely a factor as you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for cover. But if you’re opting for a cheaper policy, ensure it’s actually got the cover you need. It’ll save you more dosh in the long run.

What is the best car insurance for those who don’t drive much?

If you’re a pensioner who doesn’t drive much anymore, or anyone else who only uses their car occasionally, Pay As You Drive is an option offered by some car insurers that rewards drivers with lower premiums if they travel less than the average 15,000 kilometres a year. If you think you qualify for this cover, it can be a good way to reduce your premiums. If you aren’t sure or you think you might be on the cusp, here are some ways to cut down on your driving time:

  • Carpool several times a week
  • Catch the train or bus to work
  • Plan your errands for one trip per day instead of taking lots of little trips
  • Take the most direct route, by distance, to your destination

What is the best car insurance for younger drivers under 25?

If you’re a young driver (under 25), or a P-plater, it can be hard to find the best* value car insurance. Due to inexperience, these groups are at higher risk of having accidents. If you’re in this demographic you will be hit with higher costs, but there are still some things you can do to reduce your premiums. These include:

  • Choosing a car that’s cheaper to insure. Remember that a more expensive car not only costs more straight off the bat, but will also cost more for as long as you use it.
  • Taking a defensive driving course, such as the free one offered by AAMI
  • Having a consistently safe driving record, which will gradually decrease your premiums over time
  • Being a nominated driver on your parents’ insurance (although this will likely increase their premium)
  • Increasing your excess to an amount that’s high but affordable

How much is home and contents insurance on average?

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The cost of your home insurance policy, aka your premium, depends on a variety of factors beyond the amount of cover you want, such as your claims history and where you live.

Premiums for home & contents insurance – like other forms of insurance – reflect the levels of risk the insurer will take on for insuring that property. In recent years there has been a slight increase in the severity and frequency of natural disasters, as well as smaller weather events like powerful storms. This has caused a higher number of claims being made, leading to a slight increase in the cost of insurance policies in most of the states and regions.

What does health insurance mean?

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Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses incurred by the insured. Health insurance can reimburse the insured for expenses incurred from illness or injury, or pay the care provider directly.

What is covered by private health insurance?

Private health insurance cover is generally divided into hospital cover, general treatment cover (also known as ancillary or extras cover) and ambulance cover. Ambulance cover may be available separately, combined with other policies, or in some cases is covered by your state government.

Private health insurance is not ‘risk-rated’ like most forms of insurance. Private health insurers cannot refuse to insure any person, and must charge everyone the same premium for the same level of cover, despite their risk profile and likelihood of using health services.

There are different types of cover that offer different benefits. Check with your health fund to be sure of exactly what you are covered for.

Hospital Cover

With hospital cover you have the right to choose your own doctor, and decide whether you will be treated at a public or a private hospital that your doctor attends. If you are a private patient at a private hospital, you may also have more choice as to when you are admitted to hospital. If you are a private patient in a public hospital, public hospital waiting lists still apply.

When you are admitted to hospital, you can choose to be treated under either the public Medicare system or in the private system.

Private health hospital cover insures you against some or all of the additional costs of being a private patient in either a public or private hospital. Medicare will cover 75% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for associated medical costs. Provided you have the appropriate private health insurance policy, your health fund will cover the remaining 25% of the MBS fee.

You will be charged any amount above the MBS fee the doctors have chosen to charge. Depending on the extent of your private cover, you may also be charged for some or all the costs of hospital accommodation, theatre fees, intensive care, drugs, dressings and other consumables, prostheses (surgically implanted), diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals, and any additional doctor’s fees.

Some funds also offer ‘gap cover’ to cover some or all of the difference between the doctor’s fee for services provided in hospital and the combined Medicare benefit and health insurance benefit. Some also provide cover for alternatives to hospital treatment known as Broader Health Cover.

As with any other insurance policy, you can manage your cover by choosing comprehensive cover with higher premiums, or pay lower premiums for reduced cover. You can also reduce your premiums by opting to pay some of the costs through an excess or co-payment.

What may not be covered?

The health insurance policy you buy will have some limitations on hospital treatment, which might include:

  • Exclusions – specific services that are not covered at all.Restrictions – services that are covered to a limited extent, which means you will have greater out-of-pocket expenses. Restricted benefits are not sufficient to cover the full hospital cost of a private hospital admission and you will need to pay for the difference in cost.
  • Benefit limitation periods – which pay reduced benefits on one or more services for a set period of time after the waiting period, then pay full benefits after this period.
  • Surgery or hospital treatment that Medicare does not pay a benefit for – Medicare pays a benefit on all medical services necessary to maintain your health, but does not cover optional treatments such as elective cosmetic surgery.
  • Long stay patients – If you are in hospital for more than 35 days in succession, you will be regarded as a long stay or nursing home type patient, unless your doctor specifies otherwise. This means you will have to pay more for the cost of hospital accommodation after the initial period. The Health Insurance Act 1973 does not allow health funds to insure for this cost.
  • Single vs shared rooms – some hospital policies cover the full cost of a shared room, but not a single room. Depending on your policy, this limitation can apply in a private hospital, or a public hospital, or both. If you are admitted to a single room and your policy does not fully cover the cost, the hospital should inform you that you will need to pay the difference between the fund’s benefit and the hospital’s charge. Your health fund can also provide more information about your cover.

General Treatment Cover

General treatment cover (also called ancillary cover or extras cover) provides insurance against some or all costs of treatment by ancillary health service providers. The extent of your cover depends on the type of policy you select and may include services such as:

  • dental treatment;
  • chiropractic treatment;
  • home nursing;
  • podiatry;
  • physiotherapy, occupational, speech and eye therapy;
  • glasses and contact lenses; and
  • prostheses (e.g. hearing aids).

What may not be covered?

Nearly all services covered under general treatment are only covered to a limited extent. There are various limits that may apply, for example a limit per service, per year, or lifetime limits. Some services may not be covered at all.

You should check the Standard Information Statement about any policy you are interested in, and seek information from your insurer for details of these limitations.

Ambulance

Medicare does not cover the cost of emergency or other ambulance services. You can organise cover for this service as part of your hospital or general treatment plan, or as a stand-alone cover.

The options for ambulance cover vary depending on what State you live in. For further information please see the Ambulance section of the website.

What is the best health insurance to have?

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We’re glad you asked. The good news is, if you’re a permanent Australian resident then you already have health insurance, it’s called Medicare. For most of us, our Medicare health insurance premiums cost two per cent of our annual salary for ‘free or subsidised’ access to doctors, specialists, optometrists and treatment and accommodation in public hospitals, plus a few other perks.

Do I need health insurance?

Good question – we’re glad you asked. But we’d like you to break that question down a bit more because there’s really no such thing as “private health insurance”: there’s private hospital insurance, and there’s extras insurance. And we’re not just being sticklers here – a lot of people waste good money on one of these insurance types without using it. We don’t want you to be one of those people.

No private hospital insurance

You already have Medicare so why should you take out private hospital insurance?

  • If you earn less than $90k a year (double that for couples and families) the only financial incentive to get hospital cover is that you will have to pay the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading if you take out hospital cover after you’re 31.
  • The public hospital system serves people who require emergency surgery well.
  • If you are admitted to public hospital as a public patient, Medicare will foot the doctor’s bills.
  • But if you’re admitted to a private or public hospital as a private patient, you may end up paying a ‘gap fee’ to your doctor or sometimes even to the hospital. That’s the gap between what Medicare and your health fund pays, and what the actual doctor’s fee is, and it can run into thousands of dollars.

What you should think about before getting private hospital insurance.

  • For elective surgery you’ll end up on a waiting list.
  • You won’t be able to choose your own doctor.
  • You’ll be in public hospitals instead of private hospitals (which generally have better conditions and service staff).
  • If you earn over $90k a year (double that for couples and family), you’ll be charged the Medicare levy surcharge of at least 1% of your income, it steps up to 1.25% and then 1.5% for higher income levels. It’s on top of the two percent Medicare Levy everyone pays.
  • If you’re over 31, and you do eventually decide to get private hospital insurance, then you’ll pay more for it in the form of the Lifetime Health Cover loading.

What about extras cover?

Theoretically, the whole idea of paying insurance premiums is to put a financial cap on how much money comes out of your pocket when the unexpected occurs. Rear-ended a Porsche? No problem, pay your $500 excess and the insurer will pay the rest. House burnt down? Pay the excess and the insurer will re-build. Need a new hip? Pay the excess and your insurer will pay the hospital costs, and maybe some of the doctor’s fees. OK, in reality it’s never as easy as this – but we did say theoretically.

Need to go to the dentist? Your extras insurance will pay the first $200 (for example) and you’ll pay the rest. Do you see the difference? The insurer’s liability is capped, yours isn’t.

For that reason, extras ‘insurance’ really isn’t insurance at all, it’s a budget management tool.

If you’re buying health insurance purely for tax reasons, then no. Not having private hospital insurance can mean you pay extra tax and higher premiums should you take it up again, but these penalties don’t apply to extras (ancillary) cover.

This type of insurance rarely covers the full cost of your treatment. On average (12 months to March 2017) health funds paid about:

  • just over half (55%) the cost for the dentist
  • 60% of the cost at the optometrist
  • half (52%) of physiotherapy treatments
  • over a third (39%) for medicines not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • a quarter for hearing aids and audiology.

And there are wide variations between funds and policies, too. The most generous health insurance fund for all extras services, for example, refunded 59% on average in 2015–16, while the most miserly health fund covered just 37%. For dental the differences are even greater: the most generous fund pays on average 70% of the costs, the least generous one pays 34%.

According to APRA, average extras benefits during the year to March 2017 were $398 per person. But there are two groups of people who benefit most from extras insurance:

Combined cover?

This is simply hospital and extras combined into one policy. It can be convenient because you only deal with one health fund for both types of insurance. It can also be useful for the health funds because they’ve just sold you two insurance policies in one go.

Ask yourself these questions before buying a combined policy:

  • Do you need both hospital and extras?
  • Do you need to get them from the same fund?

It’s worth pointing out again: private hospital and private extras insurance are separate types of insurance and a lot of people waste good money on one of these insurance types without using it.

While there are some good combined policies available, you can often get a better deal by buying the best value extras and hospital insurance from separate funds, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

What is the best life insurance policy

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Finding the best life insurance policy for your needs can be a daunting and confusing experience. At insurance info guide our aim is to help this process easier a help people understand the different options available so they can make the right choice.

In short, the “best” life insurance policy depends on a number of variables that relate to your current health, age and circumstance. When buying life insurance, don’t feel the need to make a quick decision, take your time to read reviews and get all the facts and always ask for the product disclosure statement (PDS). The guide below covers the best insurers for the top 3 circumstances, we have done the research so you don’t have to spend hours reading and comparing the various options for life insurance.

Life Insurance for Seniors

Life insurance for seniors is one of the most expensive policies to take out but should be considered for those entering retirement age or the twilight of their years. Having cover in place allows you to avoid passing on any financial burden to those you love most and gives you peace of mind knowing that you can leave financial assistance to your beneficiaries. Life cover offers a financial safety net to to your loved ones in the event of your death and also take care of any existing debt you may have so they don’t have to.

Best Life Insurance Rewards Program

Most life insurers want to reward their customers for living a healthy lifestyle and this is where rewards programs come into effect. Rewards programs helps to develop customer loyalty, some even offer money savings and reduced premiums if certain conditions are met while you are insured with them. The following are some of the common rewards that are offered:

  • Reduced premiums for loyalty or taking out multiple life insurance policies
  • Benefits for improving or taking care of your health like quiting smoking
  • External program bonuses when you sign up
  • Bonuses for referring friends or family members

Best Life Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

People with pre-existing medical conditions often find it difficult to get affordable life insurance. There’s no one particular policy that’s best for anyone with a pre-existing medical condition as they vary based on the type of condition and the perceived risk of your condition being terminal. People with pre-existing conditions should target insurers that can be up-front with them about whether they will end up actually covering them or not. Insurers factor pre-existing conditions into their policies but the decision will depend on their underwriting process and risk calculations.

What is the average life insurance cost per month?

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Average cost of life insurance for ages 18 to 70. A health person whose age falls between 18 and 70 can expect to pay an average $67.88 a month for a $250,000 life insurance policy. Of course, this cost varies wildly depending on which end of those ages you are, your lifestyle and your overall health. In brief, the cost of a life insurance policy is determined by the probability and risk of you dying within each year of your policy. The younger and healthier a person is the lower the cost of their premiums per month, conversely, if you are older and are a smoker your life insurance costs will be higher. It goes without saying that the choices you make towards a healthier lifestyle such as quitting smoking or exercising regularly can decrease the cost of your life insurance plan.