How to get insurance
- Direct insurance means just that: purchasing life insurance directly from an insurance company or through a distributor, over the phone, online, through the mail or in person. When you speak to an insurer direct, they will tell you whether they are providing you with general information about a policy or personal advice tailored to you.
- Many people use a financial adviser or financial planner to arrange life insurance. An adviser providing personal advice has a legal duty to act in your best interests and can help you find what’s best based on your particular circumstances. An adviser can tell you what information you need to provide, and will research, identify and recommend suitable policies to you and clearly explain the advantages and disadvantages of different policies. This method can be useful to those who want help finding the type and amount of insurance cover that will suit their circumstances.
- Superannuation funds usually arrange an automatic amount of life insurance cover for their members without you having to provide information about your health or financial situation. Contact your fund to check whether you have insurance cover and how much, and consider if that amount covers your needs. If not, it may mean that you need to ‘top up’ your cover to the amount you require. If you have life insurance cover through your superannuation, the superannuation fund trustee owns the policy. You are a beneficiary of the policy and can claim benefits if you suffer an event covered by the policy.
- Some employers offer life insurance to their employees as an employment benefit. Much like insurance through super, the employer owns the policy and you are a beneficiary who can claim benefits if you suffer an event covered by the policy.
What is underwriting?
This ensures that the cost of the cover is proportionate to the risks faced by the individual concerned.
Underwriting is a term used by life insurers to describe the process of assessing a person's risk, based on their personal circumstances such as age, gender, medical history and occupation. This ensures that the cost of the cover is proportionate to the risks faced by the individual concerned.
Underwriting ensures that you don't pay more than required based on the information you submit with your application.
If you are applying for a policy that is underwritten, as a minimum you will be asked to complete an application form and a medical questionnaire.
Your “duty of disclosure” requires you to answer any questions an insurer asks you fully and correctly.
How you can assist with your insurance application
Ensure the policy you are buying suits your needs.
- Is the cover right for you?
- Will you be able to afford the premium payments?
- Are you already covered under any existing policies?
The sooner you can provide any information an insurer asks for, or attend any assessment, the faster the insurer will be able to make a decision on your application.
The Buying Insurance process
- You may need to answer medical questions.
- The insurer may require further medical or financial information of assessments.
- The insurer will assess your risk in order to determine the cover you are offered and the price you pay.
- Once the insurer has all the information they need and have completed their enquiries, the Life Insurance Code requires them to make a decision on the application within five business days.