Time to switch it up?

Personal Lines

Time to switch it up?

Published: 25 May 2021

After a year of lockdowns, a lot of South Africans have vastly changed circumstances. Many are clocking up fewer kilometres now that they’re working from home, others are looking to cut costs in the current economic climate. And some have even made dramatic changes, like moving out of the city to a remote location.

With any big life changes comes the need to review your insurance, according to Santam, and if changes in circumstance and lifestyle are prompting a search for a new insurer, there are some key considerations to take account. It’s not just premium price that matters.

Marius Neethling, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Santam, says, “Change is sometimes good, but you need to be careful and do your research. Start by considering your reason for switching. Why now? Is it because you need to cut costs? If you are happy with your current insurer but want to pay less on premiums it is worth having a conversation to see if you can reach an agreement.

“As part of that process, you might want to get a few quotes from other insurers to make sure your current provider is offering you the best rate. You need to compare apples with apples! Make sure you check things like value-adds, excesses, exclusions and more so that you’re comparing the same level of service per premium.”

Neethling suggests visiting the insurer’s website to read reviews from current and previous customers. “Also, review the company’s track records and its ability to pay claims. Santam, for example, pays out more money in claims than any other insurer. Most importantly, always read the terms and conditions of the policy.”

He adds that these are some of the questions you should ask a prospective provider when considering the switch:

  • Will you be adequately covered for the events you may need to claim for?
  • If you are saving over the short term, does it mean you will be paying more if something happens? Ask about an insurer’s excess structure.
  • What are the premium factors being considered when your policy is being calculated?
  • Are there any limitations included in the policy?

Also consider:

  1. Speaking to a broker to get some guidance on which companies offer the best cover and service.
  2. Checking customer feedback and reviews on online forums or insurers’ social media pages to get a feel for compliments and complaints.
  3. What you get with your cover – like free roadside assistance, and emergency and concierge services.
  4. Getting lots of quotes. Remember, there’s a difference between changing your level of cover and changing your insurer. Make sure you’re comparing the same level of cover. If another insurer offers a better price, ask why. Will you get the same benefits? Is the excess a fixed amount or a percentage of the value of the claim? And will your premium change after you’ve claimed? Double check the terms and conditions. Cheaper is not always better.
Once you’ve found the ideal insurer – a blend of price, value and service – get something recorded in writing before you ‘drop’ your old insurer. Have a written record of your request to cancel in case the company continues to charge you. Lastly, double-check that your new policy is active – the last thing you need is to have a gap in your cover should you have a loss or damage.  Finally, be aware that a new insurer may charge you a once-off administration fee.

Neethling concludes, “Cancelling may cost you if you miss out on multi-insurance benefits.”