You can’t put a price on peace of mind, but you can buy insurance

November 01, 2019
Taryn Lee-Johnston

Everyday frustrations and challenges are a part of life.  Maybe it’s a commute where you never get a seat no matter how tired you are, an annoying colleague or a day just not working out how it was supposed to.  If these irritations only happen from time to time, there may be little you can do about them.  If however, they start to impact your overall quality of life, then you may need to take action and you certainly need to think about how to protect yourself against life’s major challenges such as loss of employment, serious illness and death.  With that in mind, here are some points to consider.

Having a cash cushion can buy you time to think and act

Cash cushions serve much the same purpose as physical cushions, they provide a certain degree of padding against hard bumps.  They may be all you need to deal with minor issues (like having to pay for a taxi because your train is delayed and you cannot afford to be late) but it may not be anything like enough to see you through the major ones (like an extended period of illness).  It may, however, be enough to give you time to think about your next move (for example in a redundancy situation) or to take action (for example by gaining new qualifications).

Minimising debt and non-essential contracts can give you more room to manoeuvre

Basically, the less of your income you have to dedicate to non-negotiable expenses such as debt repayments and other contractual obligations, the more you will have available to use for your needs (and ideally wants) at the time.  As a rule of thumb, you want to target high-interest debt first, as this gives the biggest scope for savings.  Once you’ve cleared the balance completely, think about whether or not you still need the product and if not then it’s advisable to take steps to close it completely.  Not only does this remove one source of potential temptation, it takes the product off your credit record and also helps to limit the extent to which you may be at risk of identity theft.

When it comes to contracts, there is more nuance.  Sometimes it does make sense to enter into a long-term contract.  For example, you may know for sure that you will need the product or service over the lifetime of the contract and that the contract will give you a better deal than you would have been able to achieve on a more flexible basis.  The key here is to think about whether or not you really need the product or service at all and if so whether you are sure you are going to need it for the lifetime of the contract and if so whether or not the contract really does offer a great deal compared to paying as you go.  (Read the small print).  Basically, if you’re thinking about entering into a long-term contract, take the decision carefully.

Make sure you have the right insurance cover

When thinking about insurance cover, you may find it helpful to start by making a list of what really matters to you and then look at your options for protecting it.  For example, if you start with your home, then buildings and contents insurance may be obvious necessities, but if you’re paying a mortgage then your ability to keep your home will depend on your ability to keep paying your mortgage, hence Income Protection insurance could be good purchases.  Similarly, when thinking about protecting people, remember the contribution made by homemakers.  It may be very advisable to ensure they are covered by-products such as Life Insurance or Critical Illness cover, in fact, it may even be worth having Critical Illness cover for children as a child’s illness can lead to illness for adults.  Similarly, Pet Insurance can protect both children and adults against losing a much-loved friend due to being unable to pay for the treatment they need.

For General insurance, Accident sickness and unemployment insurance (ASU) and pet insurance, we act as introducers only.