For many of us, it can often be very tempting to buy something without properly researching it beforehand. In such cases, you look to see if the product looks more or less right, then you just go ahead and buy it and hope for the best.
If you are a slightly more discerning customer, you may like to do a little skim research before buying. You might spend a bit of time looking at buyer reccomendations, and will generally opt for a well-known brand, as this gives you the assurance the product you are buying is favoured by other consumers.
This approach is likely to work well enough if you are buying something like a kettle or a TV, as you can make a fairly good assessment of products such as these simply by looking at appearance and price. But what about services or insurance products? The quality and value of these products are much harder to assess. Reputation becomes all important, as this is one sure way you can see how satisfied customers are with a product or firm.
Purchasing insurance means buying a promise. Each month money will dissapear from your bank account, and you are likely to receive no more than some forms and leaflets in return. Consequently, obtaining useful customer feedback becomes very tricky, as the people who have got the most from their insurance would not have been happy about it, because the fact that they had to make such a claim means that some major problem or financial disaster has befallen them. Paradoxically, the happiest customers are likely to be the ones who paid for their insurance each month and received nothing (except for peace of mind) in return!
Coping with Redundancy
Most of us need to work in order to support a family and pay the bills. The majority of people will tailor their lifestyle to suit their income, so if their source of earning if suddenly withdrawn, they may find themselves in serious financial difficulties. For many people, particularly first-time buyers and young families, putting a major sum of money aside to serve as a contingency fund in such a crisis is not a realistic possibility. Regular outgoings and living costs consume almost all of the household earnings, so having thousands of pounds sitting in an account for a rainy day is simply not possible.
Unemployment insurance is the alternative for people who are concerned about the impact of losing their job, but have little or no savings to deal with that eventuality. Paying £30 to £40 a month to an insurance firm is far easier than saving £12,000 in a contingency fund. While you may have a sense of urgency about your need to buy unemployment insurance to ensure you can still pay your bills in the event of job loss, it is vital that you do not rush into making a purchase, as the product may not be exactly right for your needs, and you may end up paying more than you need to.
The top ten tips for finding the best unemployment insurance for you at a reasonable price:
1. The terms used by insurance companies can be confusing to the uninitiated, so it is important that you know exactly what you are looking for. This is more complicated than it seems, as many insurance providers do not always name their products 'Unemployment Insurance' or 'Redundancy Cover'. You will sometimes need to look for 'Lifestyle Protection Insurance', 'Income Protection' or something similar. Confusingly, full term Income Protection Insurance does not cover unemployment, it is actually for long term disablement until retirement. Don't waste time needlessly researching the wrong product.
2. If covering your mortgage is your main concern, you may want to consider Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI), as it is competitively priced and may be the best option to suit your needs. If you do not have a mortgage, and just need to cover rent and living costs, you will want short term Income Protection or Lifestyle Protection.
3. Research online first of all to get a broad overview of the kind of policies available and the prices charged. Use comparison websites, such as Money Supermarket or Go Compare, as they will give you a good idea of which providers are out there and how they stack up against their rivals.
4. When using comparison websites, restrict yourself to the biggest, best known ones. Other supposed comparison websites simply want to sell on your contact details and leave you open to a world of spam mail and junk calls, which is not pleasant for anyone.
5. Specialist providers tend to be the ones with the best reputation for offering value for money. Unfortunately, you may not be familiar with the names of these companies, which makes it all the more important that you use comparison websites to seek out them out. Money Saving Expert recommendations for Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance are also a good option for finding the best value providers.
6. The providers with the lowest premiums will be the ones which are particularly selective about who they cover. If you are fortunate enough to meet their criteria, you can expect to pay a lot less than you would from other less discerning providers. You will find it works the opposite of motor insurance, as the older you are, the more expensive your cover will be.
7. Many providers will not be willing to offer you insurance if you have been made redundant in the last year, have been your job for less than six months, or work for a company which has begun to make cutbacks. You may find that only the most expensive will be prepared to cover you, particularly if you work in currently risky industries like the civil service or the building trade.
8. You are unlikely to get instant cover, as providers like to make thorough checks on your situation before they accept your application fully. They may focus on your employer to see if cutbacks are planned, and look into your medical background if your policy includes accident and sickness cover.
9. A local mortgage broker or an IFA may be able to provide you with a suitable insurance policy, but you do not usually get a choice of provider, and you can expect considerably higher premiums because they handle all the paperwork for you. With this option, it is important you know exactly what your requirements are before you speak to an intermediary, as they are likely to try and sell you a whole host of expensive insurances you probably don't need.
10. To ensure that people don't take out unemployment insurance just before redundancies at their firm are announced, insurers all have an exclusion period (between 90 to 180 days) after your policy starts, which means you can't claim for unemployment that arises during this period. It is intended as an anti-fraud measure, but it is possible for an entirely innocent person to be caught out by a sudden change in their employer's fortune, so it is something you need to be aware of.
Is Unemployment Insurance Worth the Money?
The recession and negative economic climate has meant that the number of people claiming on their unemployment benefit has rocketed. On average, claimants receive £1000 a month, which is enough to cover the bills and household expenditures. They also receive free assistance to help them quickly find employment again, including help with their CV, job searching and interview techniques.
On balance, the cover is well worth buying, even though we all hope we will never actually need it. If you have less than £10,000 in savings, unemployment insurance is a sensible option to help you ease the pain of potentially losing your job and being out of work for any length of time.
iprotect Insurance is a leading provider of unemployment insurance. Visit iprotect for more infomation on income protection in the event of redundancy.