The Observer (Kampala)

8 January 2013

Uganda: Making the Most of Your Insurance

opinion

As we begin to suffer from the holiday blues, and the so-called 'January disease' takes hold, many are reviewing spending plans and drawing up new budgets.

Hopefully, insurance makes it onto your purchasing plans this year. If so, there are a number of considerations to make. Just because you may not understand the technical jargon in insurance policies does not mean you should walk away with what you are offered. When buying insurance, one should always negotiate for a policy that suits their needs.

Either reading or getting a professional to explain your insurance policy contract is the first step towards negotiating better terms. For those renewing their policies, a 'no claims discount' is a must if one has not been given, and a claim has not been made. A 'no claims discount' is a reduction in the renewal premium to reflect a claim-free record.

Although mostly common with motor insurance, it can apply to other policies. It also applies across insurers. All you would need is a statement from your former insurer saying that you did not report any claim the previous year to file with your current insurer. Furthermore, suitable limits for various clauses should be negotiated. For instance, these could include a higher third-party liability in your comprehensive motor insurance or dental limits in your medical cover.

Add-on benefits like ambulance services could also be considered if these are not provided. But even as we tighten our spending belts, we ought to realize that the lowest premium for your insurance policy is not necessarily the best deal. Purchasing insurance can be compared to buying a gadget; the cheapest cell phone is not necessarily the best one for you, and neither the most expensive.

The most suitable cell phone is one that possesses the features you require at the most competitive price. In much the same way, should the high cost of treatment of high blood pressure or diabetes be your concern, then the lowest priced medical insurance that covers that ailment should be considered.

We haggle for the best possible deals - be it interest rates with our banks, clothing in boutiques or groceries in the market, we'll negotiate. Insurance should be no different.

The author is a Chartered Insurer and works with the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda.

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