This article was contributed by SingSaver.com.sg
Let’s be honest; despite all the cards they send at Christmas, most of us prefer not to meet with our insurance agent. Talking about bonus payouts and policy differences is not high on the excitement scale, so when we do call our agent, we want it to be for a good reason.
Here are some good reasons we can think of to give your agent a call today.
1. You Have a Holiday in the Works
Inform your insurance agent before going on a long holiday. This will allow them to brief you on what to do when an accident occurs. This ranges from which documents to collect from the hospital (trust us, this is all less obvious when all the documents are in Japanese or French), to things like which police report forms you need if you pickpocketed or robbed.
Your insurance agent may also be able to recommend a better deal on travel insurance. Sometimes they can get you a freebie, or something with more coverage than the type you typically buy for S$50 at the ATM.
2. To Fix Your Struggling Your ILP
The world economy has had a bumpy ride lately. With China’s slowdown, yuan devaluation, uneven recovery in the United States, and countless other financial red flags, your Investment Linked Policies (ILPs) may be adversely affected. Note that descriptions of sub-funds can be a bit vague at times; you may not be aware, for example, that your “Asia” sub-fund allocates the bulk of your money to assets in China.
Clarify where your money is, and what is happening to it. Your insurance agent can walk you through the process of rebalancing your portfolio. Remember to examine if you are still on track for goals like retirement.
3. Ask what the Upgraded MediShield Means for Integrated Insurance
MediShield was recently upgraded, with one of the key changes being that it’s now universal (everyone gets it). In particular, changes include:
- Increased policy year and lifetime limits, from S$50,000 to S$70,000 and S$200,000 to S$300,000 respectively.
- Short stays in Emergency wards are now covered
- Increased deductible of S$500 for the elderly in class B2 / C wards
Other changes are the inclusion of children born with congenital illnesses, and improved coverage for psychiatric treatment. The full list is available on the MediShield website.
Some of you will have Integrated Shield Plans (IPs). These are approved policies which are paid through your MediSave. The good news is that you don’t have to change or cancel policies for any of the new benefits. The bad news is that your premiums will be raised, like everyone else’s. Now is the time to call your agent, and find out how much the increased premiums will be. If you don’t have much in the way of CPF contributions, you’ll want to know what you can do when your MediSave runs thin.
4. You or Someone in Your Family Shows Signs of a New Medical Condition
Not all medical situations involve emergencies and ambulances. Sometimes, it can be a check-up that reveals rising blood pressure, or an unexplained stiffness in the joints. It might also be the emergence of illnesses in family members, which are often hereditary (e.g. diabetes).
After speaking your doctor, take note of the kind of care and treatment needed. Then call your insurance agent, and ensure that your policy will cover what’s needed. Act early to modify your policies, or even get a second one if you feel the existing one is inadequate.
5. To Re-Examine Your Financial Goals
It’s good to examine if your financial goals are on track, at least once a year (some financial advisors suggest every six months). It is likely that your income will grow or shrink over time, and if your policy is part of your retirement planning, it has to be adjusted to cope.
This is especially true if your income has fallen, and premiums become less sustainable. Always inform your insurance agent early, as they can recommend alternatives, which is a better proposition than simply lettting your policy lapse.
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