Kids' costs may be at a premium
Swap your excess premium for school shoes: How families can save money on their insurance premiums at a costly time of year writes Charlie Weston
AN extra €700 or more in your back pocket in August could possibly look after all the back-to-school costs associated with this time of year.
The good news for parents is that this €700, or at least part of it, is probably theirs for the taking, according to chief executive of the Irish Brokers Association (IBA) Ciaran Phelan.
Apathy costs Irish consumers thousands of euro every year.
One of Irish household's biggest expenditures is their various insurance premiums which unfortunately, most people pay out without researching the market yearly in search of cheaper cover.
There are a variety of ways in which people can avail of cheaper insurance premiums by, for example. shopping around, reducing the level of cover required and availing of discounts, Mr Phelan said.
The IBA, in conjunction with the Irish Independent, took a look at the main insurances which most households hold and at the possible savings that can be made on each.
To make this even more applicable to the consumer we've then loosely outlined what back-to-school accoutrements these savings can be put towards.
Insurance premiums have generally increased in this area. However, the rebuild costs of property have decreased.
So you need to look at your policy to ensure you are not over insured.
If your property once cost €200,000 to rebuild is likely to have dropped to €160,000.
This could mean that your home insurance premium could drop from around €380 to €330, which would save you €50.
This sector of the insurance industry is renowned for the huge disparity in the cost of insurance premiums offered by providers.
Shopping around for car insurance is an absolute must.
And while cost comparison websites can be helpful they really can't show you the full picture as insurers often offer special discounts for people who go through a certain distribution channel, Mr Phelan says.
This means you need to ensure you, or a broker on your behalf, has scoured the market in search of the best deal.
This insurance is a must for all families, the IBA says.
"It is important not to be uninsured in this regard - protecting your family from financial hardship is high on most people's agenda," Mr Phelan stressed.
However, savings can still be made here.
For example, if you were a smoker and have given up for, say the last two years, but you have never informed your insurers of this, then you will be paying over the odds for your premium. You could save a lot of money.
The cost of a life insurance policy for a smoker of age 40 and that of a non-smoker of the same age based on a sum insured of €100,000 (level term) to age 60 is €320 a year and €163 a year respectively.
In which case, savings of €157 can be made.
You should note a "smoker" is someone who has smoked tobacco of any kind in the past 12 months or used nicotine replacement products or intends to smoke in the future.
This may seem like an odd insurance to include on the list, the IBA said.
But what many people don't realise is that by purchasing an annual multi-trip policy of some sort they can save on shelling out for more expensive individual trip premiums throughout the year.
While the cost variation that exists for the likes of motor and home insurance is not present for health insurance it is often the case that people are over insured on the level of cover they need.
Access to specialist consultants is one of the primary and most important benefits of health insurance and is invariably covered in the most basic and cheapest policies.
Mr Phelan said these savings did not represent a comprehensive list of all the ways to save on insurance premiums.
"It is merely intended to highlight to consumers that savings can be made and it doesn't take a huge amount of effort on their part to avail of them.
"I would advise those who think this may be applicable to them to visit their local independent broker who will then research all the areas I have outlined about - and more.
"As we have demonstrated the savings that can be made are significant and can make shelling out for those school books a whole lot less damaging to your pocket," Mr Phelan said.