Posted on 02 April, 2018
In the final instalment of our ‘Car Insurance Tips and Traps’ series, we’re going to take a look at the fine print exclusions that could apply to your car insurance policy. We’ll also look at what happens when you use your car as an Uber vehicle, or if you need a rental vehicle after an accident.
Rental Car Cover After an Accident
Most Comprehensive Car insurance policies will cover you for the cost of hiring a substitute car for up to 14 days usually if yours is stolen but not if you are involved in an At Fault accident while your car is being repaired.
You may be able to find a repairer which can provide you with a loan car but you need to check your position regarding your liability for damage to the loaned car.
For convenience to attend to your normal routines using your car, it is best to arrange optional cover with many insurers for a rental car while your car is off the road.
Uber-Style Use of Your Car
A standard Comprehensive Car insurance policy allows you to share your car use with passengers providing it is not for reward. Therefore Uber-style use of your vehicle charging passengers for transporting them will technically invalidate your policy. Some insurers have reacted to this new society sharing economy development for Car insurance by providing cover for this activity but limited to a nominated maximum number of hours use per week for this purpose.
If this affects you, it is best to check with your insurer whether they provide this extra cover and what are the limitations of cover. However, don’t assume you have the cover without notifying your insurer in writing to gain their acceptance of this activity as you are responsible to inform them of any risk change to your previously disclosed circumstances.
Fine Print Exclusions
It is good to read the cover features of a policy but equally important is the need to be aware of cover exclusions or features missing when comparing policies so you know if you have the right policy for your circumstances.
Check the table below, which compares certain features of prominent direct insurers’, policies to see why you need a broker to find the right policy for you.
The above coverage comparisons were compiled by Donnellys from the Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) / Policy Documents viewed on the individual insurance providers’ website as at January 2017. This information is provided as General Advice only and a Guide to the right policy for you. You should check the full details of coverage, cover limitations and exclusions before making a buying decision.
Posted on 05 March, 2018
In part one of our Car Insurance Tips and Traps series, we looked at total loss claims, new for old car replacement and loan interest gaps. This month, we’re delving into everything from passenger liability for injury to car insurance claim penalties.
Passenger Liability for Injury
In many comprehensive car insurance policies, injury to others caused by a passenger opening a car door when unsafe to do so is not covered. But, Compulsory Third Party Liability (CTP) insurance for injury caused in an accident also excludes this risk in some states. So, it’s best to check whether you have this cover, so you can protect your passengers in the event of this type of accident.
Loan Car Cover
What happens if you are loaned a car by a repairer while your car is being fixed or when your car is being serviced and you have an at-fault accident in that car? Your comprehensive car policy will cover your liability for damage as a substitute car if yours is not being used at the same time, but not damage to the loaned vehicle.
You will need to sign a document when taking delivery of the loan car which probably makes you responsible for accident damage either for the owner’s policy excess payable for a claim or maybe even the full damage cost or their loss of no claim bonus.
So, it’s best to read any loan car agreement to check your damage responsibility and whether you have this cover in your comprehensive car policy in the event of this type of accident.
Car Insurance Claim Penalties
Having a car accident and dealing with the stress that comes with it is bad enough, especially when you have to arrange repairs and pay your claim excess. When you receive your renewal notice and your premium has skyrocketed due to your at fault accident penalty, it almost feels like too much to handle.
Most policies don’t penalise your renewal premium in the following circumstances:
- Your car is damaged while parked and you can identify the person at fault;
- Whilst travelling your car is hit from behind by another driver’s car and you can identify the driver.
This is because your insurer can recover your damage costs in these instances from the person at fault, including your excess payable for your claim.
Most other types of accident involve some fault by the parties involved. Many insurance policies will apply an excess to your claim and penalise your renewal premium if you are at fault. So it’s best to have a policy that clearly defines what degree of fault will penalise you in an accident, e.g. greater than 50 per cent fault.
The best way to avoid a hefty increase in your renewal premium in the event of an at-fault accident like a collision is to buy a Protected No Claim Bonus policy option, which is available from many insurers but it would pay you to check if you have this extra cover now or not.
Donnelly Insurance Brokers can look after you in all the above-mentioned circumstances to ensure you get the right cover at the right premium for the best value coverage and assist you with claims for better insurance. Contact us today for more information!
Posted on 05 February, 2018
Ever wondered what you should look out for when purchasing a car insurance policy, or when making a claim? Check out the first part of our three-part series on common car insurance tips and traps.
Total Loss Claims
When you insure your car comprehensively, there are two options to consider when looking at what claim settlement you will receive in the event of total loss damage or theft, namely:
– Market Value or Agreed Value Claims.
Market Value policies cover the cash purchase price of a car of the same age, type, model and condition in your local area but excluding other costs. In determining the market value, the internet, newspapers and dealer guides may be used for reference purposes. Sometimes a car can depreciate in value more rapidly than usual due to lower popularity, resulting in the claimant’s disappointment with their settlement. The problem with market value policies is the uncertainty about the claim payout value.
Agreed value policies cover you for a fixed amount for which your car is insured for each period of insurance, regardless of any price change for your car during that period, guaranteeing your settlement payout. It includes the value of insured accessories and equipment. Agreed value is a better option because of its claim payout certainty but it often costs a little more in premium. Some insurers cover Agreed value automatically in their policy coverage.
New for Old Car Replacement
All Comprehensive car insurance policies these days cover the cost of replacing your car with an equivalent brand new one if it is a total loss, provided the car has not travelled more than a specified number of kilometres in the guarantee period. The replacement guarantee period varies from one to a maximum of four years, depending upon the insurers’ policy coverage conditions.
Clearly, this is an important consideration when choosing a policy if you have a recent model to insure because this benefit offers you a new for old cover instead of a depreciated total loss settlement.
Loan Interest Gap
If you arrange finance for the purchase of your car, the interest payable is calculated on the initial amount borrowed on a fixed repayment for the term of the loan. Sometimes there is more money owed to the financier for the outstanding loan amount than is claimable from the insurer; in the event of a Total loss of the car due to its rapid value depreciation.
To view policy comparisons for high profile insurance companies of the above-mentioned policy benefits, check out our guide to the insurance market!
*This is General Advice only – you should read and understand the Product Disclosure Statements and Policies for insurers that you are considering for the purchase of insurance to ensure it is right for you.
Posted on 01 January, 2018
In 2017, Australia experienced a particularly dry winter – the ninth driest on record, to be exact – as such, a senior climatologist with the Bureau of Meteorology has warned that there will be an increased risk of bushfires for the 2017/18 summer season.
Agata Imielska says that the below average soil moisture in the eastern and central parts of Australia, as well as forecasted heatwaves, will see parts of the country falling into a higher risk category this bushfire season.
Rob Rogers, the deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Gary Cook, Victoria’s Fire Authority deputy chief officer, both said that although local communities and families are given plenty of education and resources to assist them with fire preparedness, very little of this advice is being actioned.
“It’s getting the community to take responsibility for the environment that they live in,” Cook said. “The fire agency is only one piece of the puzzle in managing fire…We continue to emphasise the need to have survival plans, to listen to fire danger ratings, so that [the community’s] behaviours start to reflect the information that is put before them, and they know what to do with that information.”
So, exactly what is that advice?
Tips for Preparing for Bushfire Season
Every business and household, especially those with property within a bushfire zone or a high-risk area should have a bushfire plan in place well before summer hits. This should include an action plan that includes the whole family on what should be done, during, before, and after bushfire season, as well as what will happen in the event of an evacuation. This plan should include things like:
- Keeping gutters clean
- Keeping equipment, like hoses, rakes, and buckets in easily accessible places
- Keep track of fire warnings and fire ratings
- Don’t burn off
- Ensure any fire hydrants are full and in working order, and that everyone knows where fire safety equipment is stored
- If a fire is approaching, fill your gutters with water, hose down your garden and the exterior of your home, surround your home inside and out with as many full containers of water as possible
- If an evacuation warning is issued and you have children, animals or elderly family members with you, get them to safety
- Review your insurance policies and premiums to make sure you have the financial protection you need if your property is damaged in a fire
Don’t wait until it’s too late to update your insurance policy.Many insurers now provide an extra cover feature which protects against a declared catastrophic event such as a bushfire. This extra cover is provided to meet the increased cost of repairing or rebuilding homes due to a labour and materials shortage resulting from high demand with a large number of claims. If you live in a high-risk bushfire area check your policy to ensure you have this extra cover feature.
To find out what coverage is included in your home and contents insurance policy, or your business premises insurance, talk to your experienced insurance broker at Donnellys today.
For extra guidance on what to do to prepare your property and family this summer, make sure you visit your state’s fire authority for guidance and put their suggestions into action.
Posted on 04 December, 2017
In February 2018, a new mandatory data breach notifications scheme will come into effect in Australia, with a number of companies being required to notify customers, as well as the Australian Privacy Commissioner of any data breaches.
This new policy makes holding the appropriate cyber attack insurance more important than ever, especially considering new research has shown that small businesses are just as exposed as larger corporations to cyber attacks.
For instance, in 2016 alone, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported that approximately 90 per cent of small Australian organisations experienced a cyber threat or data breach, with 58 per cent of these attacks proving successful. These results have increased significantly when compared to data from previous years.
The Cost of Cyber Security Breaches in Australia
Regardless of how secure your network is, small businesses do have the risk of falling victim to a ransomware attack or a data breach. This can impact your business in a variety of ways and can come with a number of associated costs, including:
- IT forensic costs
- Customer notification costs
- Increased costs of working
- Legal defence costs
- The costs associated with a loss of customers, due to lack of trust
Data breaches can also have a negative effect on your business’s image and reputation, which can influence your future earning potential.
Large-Scale Data Breaches in Australia
In the last year, Australia, and the world has been hit with a series of major ransomware attacks, which have affected both big and small businesses alike.
The latest cyber attack to hit Australian shores has seen 50,000 Australian personal records, including full names, passwords, IDs, contact details, credit card details, and even confidential salary information become vulnerable.
In what appears to be one of the country’s largest data breaches, second only to the leak of information on 550,000 blood donors last year, a whopping 48, 270 Australian employees from several government agencies, banks and utility organisations have had their personal information left accessible as a result of a misconfigured Amazon S3 bucket.
Thanks to this third party misconfiguration, the likes of AMP, UGL and even the Department of Finance have been affected. The identity of the responsible third party is unknown, but the breach was reported to the ACSC, allowing all of those involved to start working on a fix.
“Once the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) became aware of the situation, they immediately contacted the external contractor and worked with them to secure the information and remove the vulnerability,” a spokesperson for the ACSC’s parent agency said.
“Now that the information has been secured, the ACSC and affected government agencies have been working with the external contractor to put in place effective response and support arrangements.”
This is just one example of the vulnerabilities and risks that are faced by countless Australian businesses. It is hoped that the new mandatory data breach notification laws will help the relevant Australian authorities crack down on cyber threats to businesses, while also minimising the effect of such breaches.
However, holding an appropriate cyber attack insurance policy is an absolute must for any business, as the costs of a successful cyber attack can be crippling. To learn more about how you can protect your businesses finances through the appropriate insurance schemes, contact Donnellys today!
Posted on 06 November, 2017
A large number of Australians are attracted to the residential property investment market because of the substantial financial returns that are well within reach in this relatively safe environment.
This is largely because the property market is considered a wise investment when compared with traditional investment options that can’t match the leveraged growth potential of residences in prime locations over a prolonged period of time.
Residential property investors often use their properties in one of the following three ways:
- For their own use as a holiday house.
- As a full-time rental property for suitable tenants.
- As a part-time seasonal rental and for their own use on a part-time basis when it’s not rented out.
Extra Insurance Coverage for Property Investors
When a property is being used for any of the above-listed purposes, investors need to be aware that a standard home policy might not provide the coverage they need for proper protection.
Some common exclusions for investment properties in standard home insurance policies include:
- If the property is left unoccupied without approval from the insurer for longer than the standard period of time defined in the owner’s policy, the cover will automatically be restricted to a basic level.
- If the property is leased full time to tenants, then a standard home policy does not cover certain risks relating to the tenant’s occupancy. Some examples of this are: Default of Rent, Deliberate or Malicious Damage, Theft by the Tenant, and Tenants’ Pet Caused Damage. For proper protection, these specific risks will need to be insured under a Residential Landlords’ policy.
- If the property is leased on a part-time basis to tenants for short stays, particularly during peak tourist seasons, many landlord insurers will not cover the owner for tenant-related claim events. However, cover for these types of risk is available for the short term through specialist landlord insurers, such as Rent Default. This cover can also provide protection for additional risks like drug-related cleanup and garbage removal.
As you can see, securing the right investment property insurance involves a lot, which makes undergoing this task by yourself difficult. Donnellys have been guiding residential landlords through this process for more than 40 years. Contact us for assistance in obtaining the best value residential landlord property insurance today!
Posted on 28 September, 2017
As we discussed in Insurance Traps and Tricks to Watch out For (Part One), insurance policies are sometimes marketed to sound better than they actually are. In the second instalment of this two-part series, we’re going to look at common tricks employed to make you think you’re saving money, as well as some common traps that can mislead bicycle owners.
Insurance Policy Prices
You know the old saying, “you get what you pay for”? Well, when it comes to insurance policies this is usually the case!
Cheaper premiums usually mean that the insurer is cutting costs somewhere. When you purchase a policy with premiums that are much cheaper than you originally expected, it usually means your policy will have more exclusions than other more expensive ones.
Another way an insurer can make the lower premiums justifiable to their bottom line is by increasing the cost of your excess in the event you need to make a claim. This means that despite the low premiums, you could end up spending more on your excess or paying for coverage gaps in your policy if you need to make a claim.
More often than not, when you see high profile insurance companies offering generous online discounts, these discounts are only applicable for the first 12 months of the policy. This means that once your first year is up, your premiums will automatically tick back over to the company’s standard, higher-cost rates.
When taking advantage of these discounts, you’re also taking the risk that the cover might not encompass as much as you might expect, which is why we recommend consulting with a broker before purchasing an insurance policy.
Changing your insurance to a different provider once your initial 12-month contract is up to save money creates extra work and stress for yourself. And if you discover you weren’t covered in the event of a claim, how are going to know next time you won’t fall for the same type of “fine print traps” contained in policies sold directly to unsuspecting customers. Checking policy covers and exclusions yourself can help if you have the time and know-how. But how do you check how good the cover is when you can only check what cover is included and excluded in the policy without having the skill and training to know what important coverage words are missing? Being your own insurance broker can be very costly in the long-run!
Insuring Your Bike
If you’re insuring your bicycle, make sure you’re aware that a lot of policies will have a limit on the value you can claim if your bike is stolen from your property. Standard home insurance policies also won’t offer coverage if the bike is damaged or stolen in an accident or a competition away from the home unless you pay extra for a policy extension.
Why Choose Donnellys?
Working with an insurance broker from Donnellys comes with a host of benefits, the most beneficial one being that we’ll be working with you, not for the insurance companies. This means we’re looking out for your best interests first and foremost. Another great part of working with an insurance broker is that we’ll take the stress out of making a claim, as we’ll handle all the nitty gritty and argue your case in disputes on your behalf.
We also offer easy monthly payments so don’t be persuaded by direct insurers to accept less cover for the convenience of their monthly payment offer online.
Want to learn more about how we can help find the best insurance coverage for your needs? Get in touch today!
Posted on 21 August, 2017
Sadly, not all insurance policies are created equal, and there are many fine print traps to be aware of and tricks that marketers will use to make even the worst policy sound perfect.
Here, we run you through some of the insurance traps you should watch out for when selecting your home and contents insurance, and your car insurance.
Home and Contents Insurance
Donnellys can help ensure you don’t get caught out by any of the following home and contents insurance traps.
Upon close inspection, a lot of home and content insurance policies, especially the cheaper ones, don’t actually cover as much as you might expect.
For example, your jewellery might not be covered at home under certain budget policies, or cover might be capped at only a few thousand dollars against theft. But what about accidental loss as this is not covered unless you have the right cover! Certain insurers’ marketers might mislead you with their advertising into thinking you have cover for jewellery and other personal items away from home but you have no cover at all away from home unless you buy extra cover.
What Happens if You Go On an Extended Holiday?
Did you know that most home and contents insurance policies have a 60-day holiday limit? This means that if you head out on an extended holiday, of more than 60 days and don’t notify your insurance company, you won’t be fully protected against all of the risks covered included in your policy, such as break-ins.
If you have spare room at home and are following a worldwide trend like AirBNB rentals to earn some extra money from short term tenants, you need to be aware that all home policies have a legal liability exclusion for business activities causing injury or property damage. Also, your policy might not cover tenant caused damage to your home. Some insurers will insist you buy a Landlord policy which fixes some problems but creates others, some will insist you buy a Business policy to get full coverage and some insurers have a specific policy tailored for bed and breakfast places. Check with your insurer or insurance broker what is covered by your policy.
Finding the perfect car insurance can be tricky, but picking up on all of the fine print in car insurance policies can be even harder. Here are some of the more popular traps in policies from some car insurance providers.
How You Use Your Car
If you decide to use your car outside the parameters of what’s considered personal use, you’ll need to talk to your insurer and upgrade your cover to a business policy, otherwise, you won’t be properly covered. So, if you’ve decided to earn some extra money on the weekend by becoming an Uber driver, but if you haven’t checked your coverage, any insurance claims for damage to your car or someone else’s made to your insurance company might be rejected.
If You Have a Car Accident
If you’re involved in a car accident, you’re usually only deemed not responsible is only if your car is hit while it’s parked or if someone runs up the back of you, and the responsible party can be identified. If your accident doesn’t fit within these boundaries, your no claim bonus will most likely be penalised.
But most insurance policies provide a protected no claim bonus option in the event of an at fault claim, which is available at an extra cost and will insure your loss of two year’s no claim bonus and so avoid increased renewal premiums for next two years.
If Your Car is Financed
If you are not eligible for a brand new car to replace an older one in the event of a total loss (new for old cover is usually only within 2 years of car purchase) then sometimes you might owe a finance company more money than the claim value of the car if it has depreciated quickly, amounting to thousands of dollars.
However, you can purchase Finance Gap cover to protect you for up to 75% of the extra amount due to be paid to your lender. But, keep in mind that the amount you receive will be dependent on the insurer’s assessed write-off value of the car. The good news is that at Donnellys this extra cover is usually included at no extra charge.
Here at Donnellys, we believe that comparing individual policies is sometimes like comparing an apple with an orange, especially since it’s hard to tell whether the apple is rotten inside until it’s too late. We’ll take the stress out of choosing an insurance policy by doing the research for you, and presenting you with only the highest quality fruit.
Contact us today to learn more about what you can really expect out of your home and contents insurance, and your car insurance policies.
Posted on 18 July, 2017
There is a proliferation of Insurance Comparison websites available online. To the average consumer, they appear to be a good source of information to select insurance cover – but beware!
Mostly these Comparators only compare a fraction of the market and some sites are actually owned by the insurance companies they’re supposedly comparing which creates an obvious conflict of interest.
Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, CHOICE has recently published an article, “Comparing the Comparers”. Author Jodi Bird states “Compare the Market is owned by Budget Holdings Limited (BHL). BHL, in turn, owns insurance Auto and General, the parent company of brand names like car insurer Budget Direct. Seven out of the 10 car insurers listed on the site are owned by Auto and General so it’s no surprise that in a mystery shop of car insurance quotes, five out of the seven brands were Auto and General Insurance brands.”
Most large insurers are reluctant to participate in online Comparator sites because they focus on price and not coverage or security through claims paying capacity. So Comparator websites can give smaller competitors a foot in the door to the market through large commissions paid to the comparator owners.
Donnellys has access to an extensive policy comparison online tool which compares up to 200 policy features, conditions and exclusions and includes a great majority of the market players. We can provide this report obligation-free to people wanting comprehensive information about the products available from the whole range of insurers or if they want a second opinion about their existing cover’s quality.
We also provide an easy to follow a report on our website: http://www.donnellys.com.au/documents/ so you can see for yourself how the likes of Budget Direct’s policies compare with others available and what coverage you might be missing out on insuring with them.
But comparing individual policies is sometimes like comparing an apple and an orange and also you don’t know if the apple is rotten inside until it is too late!
The most important factor to consider when buying a policy is Claims. Only a licensed insurance broker can legally provide claims assistance to their clients as their agent. A broker can represent clients in negotiations with an insurer over fine print technicalities to achieve a prompt and fair settlement.
Check Donnellys’ online testimonials about what many clients have appreciated about our claims service for them.
Posted on 30 May, 2017
In the wake of the global WannaCrypt Ransomware attack, businesses are scrambling to assess their vulnerability to cyber threats and to make sure staff are aware of the risks posed by suspicious emails.
The virus that crippled businesses from across the globe from mid-to-late May locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries.
*Countries affected by WannaCrypt Ransomware
Companies in Australia, Europe and Asia were particularly vulnerable to the cyber attack, and it’s estimated the recuperation costs could be in the billions of dollars.
While a number of large, international companies fell victim to the ransomware, the biggest at-risk group was small-to-medium businesses with out-dated equipment.
*A screen shot of the message received once a network had been infected
It’s since been revealed that this particular virus was created using leaked NSA data. Thankfully, a 22-year-old researcher from the UK was able to strike down the first spread of attacks with one simple trick.
One of the web domains used by the hackers wasn’t registered, so by simply paying a $10.69 registration fee for the site, he was able to take control of the domain and track how the ransomware was spreading.
However, this malware or similar malware could still pop up, so it’s essential you take all of the necessary steps to protect your business.
How Can You Tell If Your Business is at Risk of an Attack?
1. Is your Microsoft Windows fully up to date, with all the recent patches loaded and installed?
2. Is your anti-virus and anti-malware software operating properly and fully up to date?
3. Do you have sufficient Cyber Insurance to respond if something does get through and affect your computer? This is particularly important, as you’ll need help unravelling the impact of the virus, and you may also need help if your business is closed while this happens.
4. Ensure everything is up to date and that you are fully protected – and fully backed up!
Vicious malware is becoming more prevalent in our online-based world, so make sure you’re properly protected with cyber insurance from Donnellys.
Posted on 02 April, 2018
In the final instalment of our ‘Car Insurance Tips and Traps’ series, we’re going to take a look at...Read on
Posted on 05 March, 2018
In part one of our Car Insurance Tips and Traps series, we looked at total loss claims, new for...Read on
Posted on 05 February, 2018
Ever wondered what you should look out for when purchasing a car insurance policy, or when making a claim?...Read on
Posted on 01 January, 2018
In 2017, Australia experienced a particularly dry winter – the ninth driest on record, to be exact – as...Read on
Posted on 04 December, 2017
In February 2018, a new mandatory data breach notifications scheme will come into effect in Australia, with a number...Read on
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