At LifeDirect we often have enquiries from people who want to add children to their health insurance plan - or even get cover for the kids on their own.
There are two main reasons to get health insurance for children. The first reason is the same as the reason adults get cover - to avoid waiting lists. Even though kids are usually well taken care of in the public health system, waits are certainly possible (with common issues like ear, nose and throat often requiring a wait). Parents who want to ensure that treatment is as quick as possible can add their children to a health insurance plan - meaning that waits are unlikely.
The second reason is to safeguard the child's "future insurability". When a person takes out a health insurance plan the insurer will assess their application, and typically exclude any "pre-existing" condition - so they won't cover any issue that already exists. For this reason, getting cover as early as possible is important, as it minimises the number of exclusions a health plan will have. So enrolling kids in a health insurance policy early on can guarantee that they have a policy free of exclusions - which is very valuable and a great thing to have as they enter adulthood.
When you start a life insurance plan you can choose between two types of premium: "rate for age" (also called "stepped") or "level". The difference is simple. Rate for age premiums increase every year with age, while level premiums don't increase at all (unless your cover level increases). Level premiums can usually be level until age 65 or 80 - after this they change to rate for age. We show rate for age on the LifeDirect site, and it's by far the most commonly chosen option.
The choice between the two comes down to the length of time a person wants to keep their cover. Rate for age is much cheaper at the beginning (around half the cost of level cover), but because it increases every year, in the very long term, for example if a person wanted cover through their 70's or beyond, it becomes very expensive. Level cover starts out much more expensive (usually double the cost of rate for age), but in the very long term can cost less.
If you're interested in a quote for level cover, just let our team know - we can provide costs and talk you through your options.
AMP, one of the insurers on LifeDirect, recently released some interesting statistics on disability and New Zealanders' attitudes to life insurance.
If you're comparing health insurance policy features on LifeDirect, you'll notice that a few insurers offer cover in Australia as well as New Zealand. The way this works is simple - it means that you can claim under your health insurance whether you are receiving treatment in NZ or Australia.
This cover is really useful for people who spend time in both countries, or who head to Australia to live, however there are some limitations to be aware of. One of the most important is that the insurer will usually only pay for Australian treatment up to the usual NZ cost for that particular procedure (for example, if you needed an angiogram, the insurer would look at the typical cost of this in NZ, and that figure is the maximum that they would pay).
For many claims this is not an issue - however it's important to keep in mind.
One of the insurance options available on LifeDirect is "mortgage repayment insurance". The way this works is simple - you can insure your ongoing mortgage repayments, and if you are ill or injured and can't work, your insurer will make regular claim payments to you. Mortgage repayment can be an extremely important kind of cover, and means that your home remains yours even if poor health or an accident means that you're not able to work.
Mortgage repayment insurance is similar to income protection. Both are designed to pay an ongoing amount in the event that you're not able to work. One interesting difference is the approach each takes to ACC. If you're injured and unable to work, then you can expect to receive ACC payments. Standard income protection polices will "offset" these ACC payments from your claim payments (so your claim payments will reduce, or possibly not be made at all if you're receiving ACC). Mortgage repayment cover approaches this differently, and will typically not offset ACC at all, meaning that you can receive both ACC and your full mortgage repayment claim payments.
If you'd like to consider mortgage repayment insurance, start by getting a quote. And if you have any questions about mortgage insurance, just drop our friendly team a line.