Financial Health Check: Why You Should Compare Policies Annually
After you buy a health or life insurance policy, you might feel like your work is done. But the truth is, keeping the best policy requires regular maintenance and evaluation.
Sometimes, policies change due to regulatory requirements or company interests. Sometimes, our lives change, making our initial policies less effective.
Health and life insurance policies are an investment. And as with all of your financial investments, it’s important to check up on them from time to time to make sure they are still a sound, smart place for your money. For the investment of insurance policies specifically, it’s best to review and compare policies annually.
Why You Should Shop Around
It’s easy to develop a feeling of loyalty to your current insurance provider. Furthermore, unless your providers have obviously wronged you or clearly provided a bad service, you might feel if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
While this feeling is understandable, you’re only doing yourself a disservice by not switching if there happens to be a better deal out there for you. Often, people are paying for services that they never use. This is no one’s fault—you shouldn’t feel like you’re being disloyal to a provider. In the end, you may even stick with the same fund but switch to a better policy for your needs.
The health and life insurance industries are very competitive and adjust their prices regularly. With that, the company that had the best deal last year might not provide the best rate this year.
Shopping around will also give you the opportunity to take advantage of any new programs or special discounts that a different provider might offer.
In addition to the potential financial savings of shopping around, checking out other insurance policies every year can also help you improve your understanding of insurance industries.
But, outside of the practicality and functionality of shopping around every year, comparing your insurance policies could have a great and more direct affect on your health and finances.
Every year, you should evaluate your policies with consideration to:
- Any change in your coverage needs
- Any change in your health or the health of those on your policy
- Your policies’ performance
- Any change in your lifestyle
- Changes in your personal information or financial situation
Your coverage needs may have changed since you first signed up for your policy.
For health insurance, if you have new additions to your family you will need a policy that includes them. If you are reaching retirement and your children are leaving the home, you may need to find a policy that does not cover your children, but includes additional health care services.
For life insurance, a growing family could mean that you need more coverage. In retirement, you might need less coverage as you pay down your bills and your children are able to take care of themselves.
Comparing policies while considering your new and developing coverage needs will help you find the right plans for your current circumstances. You could end up saving money and/or adding the piece of mind that you and your family are taken care of.
Think about your health and the health of those on your policy. Are the conditions the same as they were when you initiated it?
As we grow, our health situations change. Sometimes we need more care, and other times we need less.
Make sure your policy adequately covers the items necessary considering your health situation. With that, you can also consider dropping a policy (or parts of a policy) that cover items no longer relevant to you or your family members.
Every year, health and life insurance companies are evaluated based on performance. This evaluation comes in the form of private awards and also public records and analysis.
How did your health fund perform last year? Were there other companies that demonstrated higher customer service ratings? Better policy options? Higher payouts? Check out our fund guides to visually compare their recent performance.
Also, when you consider your fund’s performance, think about how you were directly affected by your provider as a consumer. Weighing your personal experience against insurance awards and government data, and comparing that to other funds’, can help determine if your policy is performing up to your standard.
And, more importantly, if that performance is worth your money.
Did you quit or start smoking? How about drinking? Did you gain or lose weight? Join or leave a sports team? Get married?
Consider how your lifestyle has changed since you purchased your policy. Positive, healthy changes in your lifestyle could afford you cheaper insurance rates. On the flip side, more risky or adventurous behaviours could mean that you need higher levels of insurance to support your evolving lifestyle.
If you got married since you signed up for insurance, it is imperative that you take time to compare policies. You and your spouse can now look at getting a couple’s policy, and you may want to consider an upgrade for your new family dynamic and future plans.
Consider whether you and your partner plan on having children in the future—if so, you probably want to consider coverage related to family planning, pregnancy, and possibly fertility services. Also consider the health needs for both you and your partner. You’re a team now, even when it comes to health insurance.
While your current health fund will likely be able to upgrade your policy, you want to make sure that you are getting the best deal and coverage available for your new family. The only way to do that is to compare policies.
Personal Information Changes
Reviewing your personal information provides a good opportunity to look into your current options, ensuring your policy is still the best fit.
Have you moved? If so, does your current policy provide the same level of service and coverage in your new area?
Have you changed jobs? If so, did you lose or gain any insurance benefits with your new employer?
Even if you decide not to change policies, giving yourself peace of mind—that you have the best coverage at the best price for you—is worth the time it takes to compare. Also, making sure that your policy provider has your up-to-date personal information will ensure that payouts are seamless if or when you need them.
Comparing your life and health insurance policies annually not only ensures you are getting adequate coverage, but also serves as a financial health check for you and your family. No one has money to throw away on unhelpful policies that don’t do what we need them to do.
And, with annual comparisons, there are potential savings to be made.
For example, customers using our comparison tool save an average of $320.09 a year for individuals and up to $1000 a year for families.
That is money that was previously going to waste on unneeded policy items—money that could be put to better use.