Cutting insurance costs
A RECENT study found that each family is likely to spend at least €400 sending a child back to school in September.
But most families have more than one child. This means that a family with two children is likely to have to pony up about €800 to send their offspring back to school at the beginning of term.
In addition, the survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions found that the overall cost for secondary school is almost 50pc higher than for primary school.
This means that if you have two children in secondary school, you could be looking at an expense of more than €1,000.
So, the question on the minds of parents throughout the country is -- where is this €800-plus going to come from?
We asked the Irish Brokers' Association to rise to the challenge and to outline for us the areas in which these savings could be made so that the financial burden of the cost of a child's education is not as taxing as one may fear.
The answer from chief executive of the IBA Ciaran Phelan is to save on common expenditures that all households in Ireland will have -- insurance.
One of the most costly forms of insurance that many households have is car insurance. And as many Irish households often have two cars, the cost is even greater.
There is such a huge variance in the cost of motor insurance that you really need to do your homework and research the market before making a purchase.
There are a variety of ways of reducing the cost of motor insurance premiums -- taking a higher policy excess (the amount the consumer must pay first before making a claim for the rest) or reducing the value of your car are two such ways.
If these are not suited to your particular situation, then you might look at confining your policy to specific drivers only, Mr Phelan says.
In some instances the insurance company may apply a discount to your premium if you have more than one policy with the same company -- perhaps you have life cover with a sister company.
A family that typically pays about €1,000 in motor insurance premiums but that does its homework and searches the market could save as much as €300.
Home insurance is very important and underinsuring your home against risk is ill-advised.
However, there are ways to ensure your home is protected at the right price. For some people, increasing the excess on the policy would suit and would result in a reduced premium.
All homeowners are advised to double check the rebuilding costs of their home. These costs are a lot less than they were five years ago. Therefore, your premiums should decrease in line with this reduction.
In addition, many insurers offer discounted rates to those with smoke or burglar alarms installed, according to the IBA boss. Many people are not aware that their insurers operate a no-claims bonus facility -- if you haven't claimed you should reap the rewards.
"We estimate that for a family whose home insurance costs typically amount to €500, savings of approximately €150 can be made here," Mr Phelan says.
Families with young children are most in need of sufficient life cover.
"Families with young children need more financial protection than those whose children have grown up and flown the nest. This is due to an increased level of financial dependency for families with young children," Mr Phelan says.
However, increased competition in this market in recent years has meant that there has never been better value when it comes to life insurance premiums, the IBA adds.
Another tip is to stop smoking. Although difficult, it's a sure fire way to almost half your life insurance premiums.
The cost of health insurance has risen quite dramatically of late, with the impact of the levy on private healthcare policies driving prices up a further 15pc-20pc.
However, there is increased competition in the market now with various special offers available, Mr Phelan says.
This has resulted in the potential for a saving on a typical family policy that costs €2,500 of around €400.
Irish Independent Supplement