Peace of mind comes at premium, so get the right policy

Insurance firms paid out a record �766.5m in 2017 towards the cost of treating pets. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto
Insurance firms paid out a record �766.5m in 2017 towards the cost of treating pets. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto
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Newly published insurance industry figures reveal that £55 billion was paid out to customers in 2017 – with hundreds of millions of pounds being paid out every day, typically to help people get their lives back on track after accident or illness and to support them in their retirement.

The money was paid out by the UK’s general insurance and long-term savings companies, and includes a record £766.5 million to help people with the cost of treating ill or injured pets.

The £55bn sum paid out in 2017 also includes: £10.6bn paid out for motor claims, such as repair, replacement or personal injury; £5.2bn paid in property claims, of which £2.8bn was for domestic home owners; £5.1bn paid through protection products, such 
as critical illness cover, income protection or life insurance; £401.5m to help travellers to soften the burden of expensive medical treatment abroad and cancellations.

Meanwhile, in long-term savings, £14.7bn was paid to retirees through an annuity product to boost their pension income, and a further £16bn was paid through investment and savings product contracts. Consumers also used their pension freedoms, withdrawing £5.7bn through drawdown or cash withdrawals.

Malcolm Tarling, ABI spokesman, says: “Insurers exist to provide peace of mind, stepping in to help should the worst happen, as well as helping provide long-term financial security for you and your family.”

Here are his insurance tips for consumers:

◆ Shop around for the best deal for your particular needs as insurance is very competitive.

◆ Don’t buy on price alone. The cheapest policy may look best for your needs, but it might not be in reality, so make sure you have the cover that’s right for you. For example, if you have a pre-existing health condition and are looking for health or travel insurance, then you may need to seek some specialist advice from an insurance broker.

◆ Read the policy, so that you know what is covered, and what is excluded.

◆ Make sure you know what to do should you need to claim so that any claim can be dealt with as quickly and simply as possible.

◆ Keep any emergency contact numbers for your insurer, such as 24-hour helplines so that, if the worst happens, you can get hold of them as quickly as possible.

◆ For life insurance, health insurance and pensions, it is often sensible to seek advice from an independent financial adviser, especially as life insurance and pensions are long-term contracts, making it important to get the right policy for your long-term security.