How many of us can answer ‘yes’ honestly to the question of whether we check the small print of our insurance policies. With (hopefully!) seventy years to spend on this planet, the prospect of another 90 seconds on this article doesn’t sound like time well spent but bear with me on this.

Look at this from a different angle. The one time I can guarantee you will really study an insurance policy – and I mean you will really study it – is when something has happened. In other words, at a time when it is too late to make sure everything is correct and when the loss has occurred. You search, hands trembling as you try to find the wording or ring the insurer. Is the cover still in force? Does it cover what has happened? Have I paid the premium?!?!

And then you begin to look, and you search for the right bit in the wording and you read it, then you read it again to see what it means. And in pretty quick time, you learn of the legal and contractual insurance provision called ‘average’ – you also learn what it means….quickly. In a nutshell – you are required to arrange cover to the right sum insured. Where your cover is too low, insurers will proportionately reduce the claim payment. Sounds simple? It is really – but many of us (both in business and personally – don’t get it right. A study carried out by Aviva highlighted that 20% of businesses were not confident they had the right insurance cover. The Association of British Insurers separately found that 82% of households have not altered or increased their insurance coverage.

How many of us receive their renewal invitation and only look at one number, how much I have to pay? How long would it take to work through these numbers to make sure you are confident? And when it comes to it – why pay for insurance if you’re not confident? Take the time to make sure you are.

If you have read this in 30 seconds (no long words, it can be done) – spend 5 minutes on it now. When did you last look at your sums insured? Find out how much it is to increase – and do it. Don’t be the person who leaves it too late.

Zach Gray, Director, D E Ford Insurance Brokers

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