Meet the Parents

Buying Insurance

February 6, 2014

Based on my personal experiences buying insurance and anonymous advisers

Ever since we had Blake, insurance has been quite the pain in our *beep*.

From errant agents misleading us with “if you give birth again, we will cover the hospital bill!” (which woman who wants to have children don’t want this?) to telemarketers who try to hard-sell the all-in-one general insurance policy over the phone. Yup, just by hearing you say, “Yes” it could lead to you paying them every month!

Side note: I have put all of our numbers into the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. You can too, if you want telemarketers to stop calling you. I believe this only applies to Singapore telephone numbers.

While I haven’t been the smartest nor luckiest (in meeting agents) when it comes to buying insurance, I have been pretty fortunate to meet a few good people who came along the way to help me, agent or not. That said, insurance is still a very sore topic in this household.

But, because of my experiences and the people I met along the way, I figured that I can pass on their advice. In case, you know, you’re not as shrewd as I am.

So here is a list of things you must take note when buying insurance!

Before Signing a Policy

1. There is no one-size-fit-all type of policy, only policies that would suit your needs best. So understand why you are buying insurance and present your clear needs to the agent (If you need an agent recommendation, don’t hesitate to email me. I finally found a good agent!).

2. Always read your policy document yourself. Do not blindly listen to what the agent says. Make sure you get everything the agent says you will in black and white!

3. If there is something in the policy you don’t understand, ASK. Otherwise, you’re as good as signing all your possessions to the agent/company.

4. Do not be rushed into signing your policy. If they rush you, walk away! NOW!

5. Take your time to manage your finances (and understand the policy!) before taking on a long term commitment. As one of my advisers put it, “I mean… you’d want to date the guy and make sure he’s ok before you marry him, right?”

After Signing a Policy

6. After signing any insurance policy, you are entitled to a 14 days Free Look window. All agents should tell you about this particular detail. If they don’t, WALK AWAY! NOW!

The 14 days Free Look period gives you time to change your mind without incurring any monies lost. Should you look through the recently signed policies more thoroughly and decided it is not suitable for you, cancel the policy immediately, within this 14 days.

Update: This may not be applicable to investment related policies. Be sure to check with your insurance agent about this 14 days Free Look period!

7. Should there be any changes to your health, DO NOT switch out of your plan, no matter how attractive the other plan is.

Underwriting will be conducted all over again, and any health issues that come up during this period are usually left out in the coverage. So choose your health insurance wisely cos you’re basically stuck with it for life!

8. If you find yourself being charged monthly through GIRO for policies you didn’t sign up for, or come to realize that the policy you’ve been paying for is just money down the drain for you, call up your bank up immediately and cancel the GIRO payment. After you have done this, you can proceed to call up the insurance company and ask them to cancel the policy.

If you have internet banking, chances are, you can cancel GIRO payment yourself, at any time!

One additional point to note: When you meet any agent, decline to accept meals or drinks or gifts from them. There is really no such thing as a free lunch/drink/gift when it comes to agents. Once you allow them to buy things for you, you will subconsciously feel obligated to sign the policies without thinking or reading twice.

But once you sign with them, demand at least one good meal out of them! Hehe.

If you have additional points, or find that some of the above points are dated, don’t hesitate to leave your comments behind, or email me 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional in this field. All pointers listed above are based on advise I have received recently, from various people, after my latest issue with an insurance company (of whom I shall not name or speak about). The pointers listed above are also supplemented with my own ‘enlightenment’ with regards to buying insurance.

With regards to DNC, if you were to have an ongoing relationship with the company/business (e.g. membership), then the company/business may still be able to contact you. If in doubt, go to PDPC.

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