finance

Do you really need insurance? Here's what covers you should be spending and saving on.

Insurance is a complicated beast. 

With approximately 459239 varieties, it's tricky to know exactly what's going to save you in the long run, and what is going to cost you big time.

Luckily for us though, this week, on Mamamia's money podcast, What the Finance, financial expert Melissa Browne takes us through exactly how and where you can be saving on insurance policies.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget... Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

From home and contents to health insurance, here were the three key takeaways from this episode.

1. Get familiar with your current cover.

"Insurance is something where you want to read the fine print," Mel says. 

"You want to potentially speak to an insurance broker, who is an expert in finding the right policy for you."

Life insurance is typically included in your superannuation if you are over the age of 25, and you can check this through your super fund.

"You might just check your super fund has life insurance and that it's at a level that you're comfortable with. If it's not, you might increase the cover."

Once you have your life insurance sorted, Mel suggests considering the other options available.

"There's car insurance, home and content insurance, business insurance, trauma, TPD, pet... There're so many insurance options, so it's really about picking and choosing the ones that are right for you."

LISTEN: Do I Need Private Health Insurance? Post continues after audio...

2. Delay your income protection insurance cover.

Melissa suggests that income protection insurance can be a useful cover to have, particularly if you are a contract or freelance worker.

But, there are strategies that will reduce its cost while still keeping you safe.

"If you have some sort of debt, asking the question: 'How am I going to pay for that if I was to lose that job or income?' is really important," Mel says.

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That is where income protection insurance comes in handy and covers the cost of a job loss.

"When you get things like insurance protection or income protection, you can opt in when it's going to kick in.

"It can mean that it's a lot cheaper, because you might say, you know what, I'm really comfortable that I can cover [a loss of income] for two months, but if I got sick beyond that, I'm in real strife. 

So I'm not going to have my income protection kick in until after 60 days. That means the policy's cheaper. And I still get to access that protection that I need."

3. Substitute warranties for a buffer account.

If ever you've gone to purchase an appliance or phone, there's a good chance the salesperson offered you a temporary 'insurance', also known as warranty, to go alongside it.

But are they worth it, or are they just trying to upsell you?

Well, Mel reckons you can skip it. 

"Instead of purchasing insurance, make sure that your buffer account is your Apple care," Mel says. 

"Your buffer account is if the fridge dies early, your buffer account is if your laptop dies early, so if you've got that buffer, you suddenly don't need all those little sneaky, extra warranties, because you have that money sitting there."

And this is something that can work for young people with their health and income protection cover too.

"Interestingly, that's a strategy for health insurance I've seen used as well," Mel said.

"So pre-30, I didn't pay for private health insurance. I paid money into a buffer account so that if something went wrong, that was the money that I would use knowing I didn't have private health insurance."

If possible, save on insurance expenses by keeping your "buffer" money in a separate account for emergencies. 

For more tips, you can listen to the full episode here, or read our other What the Finance articles below.

Financial expert Melissa Browne got divorced at 33. She gave the entire settlement to charity.

Struggling to save? 'Sprint goals' could help you stash more money by the end of the month.

“What the f**k am I worth?” A financial expert shares exactly how to price yourself by profession.

“Do I need to make contributions?” All of your superannuation questions answered.

'What are your 3 non-negotiables?' What to ask yourself when you're looking to buy property.

Feature Image: Getty.