With Spring in the air and the weather improving, many of us will be thinking of getting fit for the warmer months. As we prepare for fitness physically, we realise that there are similarities between exercising or going to the gym, and being ‘short-term insurance fit’.
Belonging to a gym or committing to an exercise routine will usually involve assessing the best solutions for your goals and budget, built around your lifestyle. You may even seek professional assistance or guidance, through the services of a personal trainer. Taking out short-term insurance is almost like adopting an exercise programme: there are several options available to you, you can get different levels of membership (or cover) tailored to your needs, and you can get professional input on your insurable interests.
You exercise to prevent bad health. You take out insurance to protect against emergencies or unforeseen events. But do you know exactly what you’re covered against, and for how much? And are you making the most of the options available to you to meet your needs fully? Now’s your chance to address your short-term cover like a new fitness regime – no excuses.
Practise smart moves
For exercise to yield the best results, it usually requires practise. The same can be said for short-term insurance, as you must keep cover in place to get what you need from it. You also need to make sure you’re paying for the right cover – or ‘practising the right moves’ – to get the results you’re after.
Consistent workouts may yield leaner limbs or stronger muscles (depending on your fitness goals) but short-term insurance success is a little harder to spot. In fact, the benefits are usually only clear when misfortune strikes. Don’t let the lack of immediate feedback discourage you: having the right cover in place consistently is the best move you can make.
Lunge towards the long term
Gym memberships and some short-term insurance may seem optional; after all, why bother if you’re happy with your build, or if nothing ever goes wrong? While it’s true that you may never need to claim from your insurance, it’s a safety net that gives you peace of mind that you’re protecting what you own. After all, you never know what life may throw at you. Some losses are difficult – if not impossible – to manage financially without cover. Including short-term insurance in your overall financial plan is therefore a much-needed step towards securing the best results for the future.
While it depends on your unique circumstances, goals and assets, it is rare that someone regrets having insurance cover (or undertaking an exercise programme). It’s just about getting the specifics right, paying for what you need and keeping up your side of the deal. Make sure your cover stretches to fully protect you, so that you can prevent hard knocks from impacting your progress towards your future plans.
Count your calories (and your contents)
With exercise, you get out what you put in. This often requires maintaining a healthy diet for consistent results, and may mean that you need to adjust your eating plan to align to a new goal. It’s similar when it comes to your insurance. You need to count everything you have to ensure enough insurance cover, and then make the necessary adjustments as you go. This requires keeping your list of insured goods updated in line with current replacement values, removing items from your policy that you no longer own, and adding new purchases.
If you’re paying for insurance – or the gym, for that matter – but aren’t checking your benefits or what you need to keep your cover active, you may find that the expected benefits disappoint.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
For some, paying for a gym membership can be a grudge purchase if you don’t use the facilities often enough. For others, the gym becomes a second home. Whether you’re either of these or somewhere in-between, you would likely agree that it’s best to get the most out of what you’re paying for. The same goes for your insurance, and seeking professional assistance is a great first step.
Advisers can be seen as coaches or personal trainers and can really help you to get – and stay – insurance fit. Make touching base with your adviser as important as sticking to a workout schedule. After all, the effort you make to exercise well and the rands you regularly place towards covering your short-term insurance needs should matter. So, put some muscle into it and get ahead of anything that could derail your plans by ensuring you’re making the most of what you have at your disposal.
[Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure]