How to get the best out of your insurance policy

Dear Dr Pesa,

I am a 27-year-old single mother of one earning an average of Sh60,000 per month from my many hustles. Three months ago, I got injured in a terrible accident and used up all my savings on medical bills. My car was partially fixed by insurance. I however had no health insurance and had to pay out of pocket; I just finished paying off the debts. How do I go about choosing insurance? How can I ensure I get the maximum benefit?

Matilda Marita.

Risks in life and business are inevitable and insurance is the safest net to cushion and ease the impact that comes with these risks. [iStockphoto]

Dear Matilda,

Sorry about the accident, glad you are better now.

Here’s the thing, having insurance cover is becoming a necessity in present-day society because we live in an unpredictable world.

According to a 2020-2021 Insurance Outlook Report by Deloitte Kenya, the insurance market in Kenya has experienced consistent growth since the year 2013 marked by the increase in premium revenue and capital investments.

In addition, the general insurance business including automobile and homeowners’ policies remains the largest contributor to industry insurance premiums, indicating the increased preference and uptake of insurance in the country.

However, having an insurance policy is one thing and making use of it is another. For you to consider your insurance policy valuable, not only does it need to lie within your budget but also must be timely and meet the compensation expectations in the event of a claim arising from an insurable loss.

Here is how you can best ensure that your insurance policy takes care of your needs:

Research on what insurance cover you need and what different insurance service providers are offering

Immediately you decide that you want to have an insurance cover, embark on carrying out thorough research on what insurance cover you need.

Once you garner your findings, evaluate them and weigh the benefits of each against your needs and preference.

This will guide you in choosing the best insurance policy to provide adequate protection to your interests such as property, liability or against injury.

Read the fine print of your insurance policy document

Once you have bought your insurance cover, you will be provided with an insurance policy document that you are obliged to read and internalize well as it spells out your applicable terms and conditions.

This document is important because it acts as a reference point for both you and your insurer as regards the extent of coverage, exclusions, conditions and claim procedures.

If the insurance policy contains terms you do not understand, contact your insurer for clarifications before you commit.

Having a clear understanding of the insurance policy will give you an insight into what is expected of you as the policyholder.

Make sure your Insured values are adequate

When seeking insurance, ensure you provide adequate values of the property you need to be covered. This is important because it represents the amount of insurance you intent to buy. The insurer adopts the values proposed by the customer.

In the case of motor vehicle insurance, valuation is usually undertaken to determine the existence of the risk, confirm its condition and obtain a fair value of the same.

On property and other liabilities, insurers always adopt or acknowledge the values as proposed to them by the customer.

However, you might opt to engage a professional valuer to determine and advise you on the replacement values that can be adopted as values of insurance.

This document is important because it acts as a reference point for both you and your insurer as regards the extent of coverage, exclusions, conditions and claim procedures. [iStockphoto]

Report all claims promptly

In case of an accident or incident where a claim is required, reach out to your insurer immediately.

It is also advisable to refer to your policy document on the claims process and understand your obligations. This will help to start the processing of your claim as soon as possible.

Technology has eased reporting of claims, for example, the Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) launched a Claims Registration App that enables customers to report accidents on their motor vehicles efficiently.

This means that various insurance customers, through the mobile app, are able to report in real-time when an accident when occurs and get feedback on the next steps.

Co-operate fully with your insurer during the claims process

It is vital to remember that an insurance investigator or claims adjustor may be appointed by your insurer to facilitate the claims process. These service providers have considerable influence on your claim.

Therefore, it is necessary to fully co-operate with them when a loss ensues and a claim is lodged. These will be instrumental in helping you confirm the loss, assess the damage and quantify your claim as well as propose recommendations to the insurer with regards to the claim.

Regularly update your insurance policy

It is essential for you to review your insured items or needs on a regular basis. This is because circumstances may have changed over time, new sector developments may have emerged or your needs and preferences changed.

For example, you may have made renovations in your home or bought new devices that are not covered under your home insurance cover. As such, you may consider updating your policy to cover these new purchases.

Utilise the services of your insurance intermediary

Insurance providers are your bridge to the best suitable policy for your needs.

Being in touch with your provider through inquiries and updates offers you the opportunity to learn about new discounts, sector developments and emerging technologies trends that can have an effect on your policy.

Insurance providers are also exposed to advanced analytics and knowledge that can be of advantage to you as a customer.

Risks in life and business are inevitable and insurance is the safest net to cushion and ease the impact that comes with these risks.

Not only should you consider being insured but also ensure you derive the best out of your insurance policy.

Daniel Enane. 

Dr Pesa is Kenya Orient Insurance Underwriting Manager, Daniel Enane.

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