Savvy ways to save on insurance and utility costs by managing your risks better

With the economy taking a hammering and sharp price increases on everything from petrol, food and basic commodities like water and electricity, there is no more crucial time to take the bull by the horns and save on costs by working smarter with your money and reducing unnecessary risks.

One area where consumers can enjoy considerable savings without compromising themselves in the event of an unforeseeable loss is by managing their short-term insurance costs better through enhanced risk management.

According to Carl Moodley, Chief Underwriting and Claims Officer at GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (GENRIC): “By better managing the risk you present to the insurer, and reducing the potential of a loss occurring, you can enjoy better insurance rates and less likelihood of premium increases as a result of large or frequent claims. Traditionally insurers would offer very little in the way of empowering clients to reduce their risk, particularly when it comes to home insurance, instead the onus would lie with the client to reduce their risk.

It’s on this premise that GENRIC’s new SafeHomes insurance solution embraces technology by using the internet of things (IoT) to connect your home devices to its insurance offering and in turn, helps you reduce your risks and enjoy lower insurance premiums, cost savings and a safer lifestyle. Our focus is not only to reduce your risk but also give you the benefit of potentially increased savings.”

GENRIC offers these savvy tips to better manage your risks and save money in the process:

Reduce your risk by embracing the IoT – Burst geysers and the resultant damage form the bulk of homeowner’s insurance claims. This is despite the fact that geysers do not actually ‘burst’ violently but wear out over time allowing for gradual leakage – which can be managed through proper maintenance and intervention. With a SafeHomes insurance policy, you receive a Geasy drip tray sensor* (for the lifetime of your policy) that reduces the risk of geyser bursts or leaks and the resultant losses. The sensor detects water in the geyser’s drip tray and generates an early warning notification via SMS or e-mail so that you can intervene before further damage or loss occurs – think saved ceilings, carpets, drapes, furniture, electronics and so on.

Make your insurance premiums work harder for you – Following on from managing the risks and costs of a burst geyser, a Geasy device on a Safe Homes policy may also slash up to 30%* off your monthly electricity costs by allowing you to remotely manage your geyser and water heating costs. By optimally scheduling and remotely switching your geyser on/off via a web app on any connected device, a Geasy can save up to 30% of an average household electricity bill. On a buildings or contents insurance policy with a minimum monthly premium of R350 per address, GENRIC will supply one complimentary Geasy energy management device for the term of the policy, or two devices on a monthly premium of R850 or more if needed. The biggest win is that the savings on electricity usage almost amortises the cost of your monthly insurance premium – which you would be paying anyway. It’s a big win on your electricity costs by making your insurance premiums work harder for you.

Detect water leaks before they bankrupt you – Undetected water leaks in your walls or underground, or even a tap left running undetected for an extended period of time can cost you a fortune in municipal fees as well as cause untold damage to your foundations and building structure. The optional water metering technology offered with the SafeHomes policy interfaces with existing water meters and can detect high water flow rates or events that otherwise could easily go undetected, such as pipe bursts, underground leaks, and taps left running. Should the system detect abnormal usage or high flow rates, an SMS or email alert is sent to call for early intervention to address the problem. SafeHomes not only saves you money and the nasty surprise of an outrageous water bill but helps protect a scarce and valuable resource.

Stop paying for cover for things you no longer own – review your insurance policy against your asset register at least once a year. By keeping your insurance policy and asset register current, you can avoid paying for cover for items you no longer own or which have become redundant – this is often the case with older cell phones and tech gadgets which have been upgraded for new ones.

Make sure your new assets are correctly insured – just as you don’t want to pay to insure items you no longer own, it is equally important to ensure that any new assets, especially major ones, are correctly insured. When times are tight, you simply cannot afford the financial implications of an unforeseen loss that is not correctly insured, which could leave you in a severe financial predicament in the case of major items like property or a vehicle. Remember that items should always be insured for the replacement value and not the purchase price.

Consolidate your contents and building insurance – Having all your assets such as the building and fixtures and all the contents in it with one insurer will mostly likely give you a much cheaper, consolidated premium. Consider adding the assets of your partner (who resides at the same risk address as you) under one policy and split the premium costs between you – you’re likely to get a lower combined monthly premium than you can get individually. You will also save on policy fees and debit order costs by having one premium.

Improve your security and driving behaviour – much of your insurance rating is based on your risk profile and behaviour – where you live, the crime statistics in your area, the security you have in place, your driving behaviour and so on. By improving home security with a linked alarm system and burglar proofing, ensuring you vehicle is parked in a locked and safe garage at night, or installing a vehicle tracking and telematics device for security as well as tracking safer driving habits, you could qualify for a better risk rating from your insurer, and thus a lower premium.

Pay for the cover you need: Go through your insurance policy line by line and ask about removing any optional extra coverage that you feel you don’t need. While you do not want to expose yourself to the risk of underinsurance, you also don’t want to over-insure, as you won’t necessarily receive a larger claim settlement if and when you claim. On a SafeHomes policy, GENRIC is able to provide an immediate assessment of your property value using spatial and geo-technologies and mapping this back to deed’s office information regarding property values in the area. The technology is also used to provide property evaluations based on statistical-actuarial data and historical sales data to determine current values. SafeHomes customers receive a bi-annual property valuation report which they can use to ensure that their property is correctly insured and avoid the risks of under- or over-insurance in the event of a loss.

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