By Kutemba Chinyemba
When Covid 19 was first reported, most of us thought it was simply a flu that would start and end in China. However, by February going into March, it started to spread around the world and was declared a pandemic.
The effects of this pandemic have been dire leading to massive job losses and closing down of businesses. The pandemic has also in a way helped people to realise the importance of saving money for a rainy day. Now more than ever, people are awakening to how insurance products can cushion them in a pandemic such as this.
While most insurance policies generally have a market exclusion on pandemics, implying that the insurer may not pay certain claims when the pandemic affects people on a large scale
Fortunately, not all policies are affected by this legal clause as we will come to learn in this article, which highlights the benefits of insurance during difficult times such as the one we are facing currently.
Save by getting a life insurance cover
One significant way of saving is having a suitable life insurance policy. With the level of uncertainty on breadwinners, there is no doubt that a life policy is one of the best ways of securing your loved ones future after ones demise.
Insure your assets
Losing valuable assets such as a house, household goods or stock in a shop through theft or fire can be devastating as it may not be easy to replace what you would have lost due to the amount involved.
It is therefore, important that one gets an appropriate insurance policy such as fire or burglary insurance. You should also invest in security features such as alarms or guard dogs. This will not only help curb the vice, but will also reduce how much you will be paying as insurance premium. With a good underwriter/insurer, you will only spend a very small fraction of the total value of your assets as your premium per year.
Save by having a valid motor insurance cover
Most people are struggling to pay their insurance policies including motor insurance. However, if one downgrades their motor insurance for instance from comprehensive to third party insurance, they leave themselves and their own vehicle exposed. At an average of about 6% of the value of your vehicle, one enjoys insurance motor cover for a whole year. It cannot be sufficiently emphasized how important it is for one to ensure that their minimum motor insurance is valid. It is therefore surprising how many motorists avoid even paying for full third party insurance when they would have been at peace by buying even third party motor insurance at less than K200.00 for the whole quarter. In other words, it is cheaper and more peaceful to buy motor insurance than to fall victim of the law because even in a pandemic like this, the law still demands that you do what is right. If you are involved in an accident and do not have insurance, you will have to shoulder the bill and will not be able to use the pandemic as an excuse. This can take a serious toll on your finances.
Save money by getting a group funeral insurance
As we are all aware, Covid 19 has resulted into many deaths. A claim on a funeral policy is triggered by the death of the insured person(s). As such, the policy is not affected by the pandemic exclusion highlighted above. Therefore, there has never been a better time to buy funeral insurance cover than now. It must be stressed here that most policies lapse or expire when you stop paying, and so it is important that policyholders do not default on their premium payments. In the case that one is unable to pay, it is prudent to notify your insurer and liaise with them on a payment schedule.
You should also understand what your funeral policy covers. Most funeral policies can extended to include other members of your family at minimal amounts.
Ensure that your medical insurance is in place
The Covid 19 pandemic has come with its own insurance underwriting challenges. However, most insurers are turning these challenges into selling points. Some insurers have opted to waive certain exclusions such as the exclusion on pandemics. They are therefore able to cover someone for a limited period free on the original cover’s terms and conditions.
Other insurers are asking policyholders to extend their benefits to include Covid 19 at a minimal fee. It is therefore important to check what your medical insurance policy covers. Again, extensions to suit your unique needs as an institution or household are now available. Talk to your broker or insurer to see how you can extend the benefits at reasonable premiums.
Get a Keyman policy as a business or a sole trader
For a business, a Keyman policy will help to financially cushion the business when the sole person or key partner die. A Keyman insurance policy simply put is a policy that covers any employee whose special skill set or responsibility contributes significantly to the profits of an organization.
In these uncertain times, a key person on whom the survival of the business lies might die of the Corona Virus. It is therefore imperative that such a person/employee is insured so that at their demise, a fixed monetary value could be received from the insurer. The amount received can be used to find similar personnel or at least cushion the company’s profits as they look for a replacement.
In conclusion, we all have to embrace the new normal, as Covid 19 may be here for a long time. It is therefore important that we all try and secure our finances by using the tips above and exploring other ways that can help us to be financially sound even in the direst situation. Over the years, insurance has proven to be one of the best forms of savings and it is high time that Zambians embraced insurance in order to manage various risks.
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The author is a Market Conduct Inspector in the Insurance Department at Pensions and Insurance Authority.