An article by Maya Fisher-French
Personal Finance Journalist and Author
Becoming more involved with my mother’s finances brought home to me how important it is to stay on top of your admin – especially when it comes to checking your statements and reviewing your insurance.
Car and household insurance
It started with her car and household insurance when I noticed she was paying more for her car and household insurance than I was. The figures were not making sense. I went online and requested a quote from the same insurer. The quote they were prepared to give a new customer was 30% less than what my mother was paying. I should mention that she has been a customer of theirs for over 20 years.
Customer loyalty is not something insurers reward – they use premium discounts to acquire new customers, not reward loyal ones. We showed the quote to her insurer, and with lots of apologies, they reduced her total insurance premium by nearly R1000 a month. The frustrating part is that she has been overpaying for a significant amount of time. There was a no-claims bonus due to her, but then her geyser burst, and she no longer qualified for the bonus. So, another lesson – don’t be fooled by no- claims bonuses. Insurance is there to pay out when you need it – not act as a savings fund.
I then noticed two other insurance premiums coming off her bank account. I queried these to discover that she had “dent and scratch” insurance for R350 a month. She has never claimed on it, and quite frankly, it is a complete waste of money – as explained in this article. The other was R180 for a mechanical warrantee she didn’t even know she had. We cancelled the dent and scratch insurance, and I am currently reading the fine print of the mechanical warrantee to see if it worth keeping. The devil is always in the detail and disputes over warranties are one of the main complaints made to the Ombuds for Short-Term Insurance.
Reviewing her cellphone contract, I discovered that she had a subscription to enter competitions that was costing her R31 a month. Again, she was completely unaware of this fee and had probably accidently signed up for it.
Just by spending a day checking statements and reviewing her insurance and other contracts she has saved R1350 a month – that will be R16 200 over the next year. We are all busy, and admin is the last thing we have time for, but how much money are you unwittingly giving away? Maybe it is time to find out.
Now go check your statements!
Author: Maya Fisher-French
Maya Fisher-French is a well-known South African personal finance journalist and author of Money Questions? Answered!. She is a multiple winner of the prestigious Sanlam Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism for the category of Consumer Financial Education. Maya presents the popular Money Matters segment on eNCA which airs every day on DSTV 403. Maya on Money aims to help you with those day-to-day money decisions related to South African finance matters.