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If you're planning to buy insurance, go through this checklist to make an informed decision:

Shop around and get comparisons

Get a range of quotes from different insurers and read the policy documents carefully. Compare the types and levels of cover as well as any exclusions and how an excess or deductible is calculated. When comparing policy terms and prices, make sure that the features you are comparing are identical. Price is one of the key factors to consider when buying insurance. However, comparing the premiums alone may not be a wise choice as the policy with the lowest premium does not necessarily offer the most suitable cover for your needs.

If you have a policy and it is time to renew, get some quotes before discussing with your insurer. You might find a better deal or be able to reduce the price of your renewed quote with your insurer or insurance intermediary. You are also encouraged to review your insurance coverage regularly and whenever your needs and circumstances change. An insurance broker who acts on your behalf may be able to do the shopping around for you.



Know the exclusions

In many cases, an insurance policy does not cover every single risk or incident. This is called an exclusion because the risk or incident is excluded from the policy and you will not be able to make a claim for financial loss in the event that it occurs. Check what is not covered by your policy very carefully before applying for insurance. Otherwise, you may not be compensated for any uncovered loss when you make a claim.



Understand fees and charges

When you buy something in a shop, you know what you are buying and what price you agree to pay. The same principle applies to insurance. Your insurance intermediary should clearly outline any fees or charges incurred under your policy. If you don't understand, ask the intermediary to explain anything that isn't clear.



Examine the policy conditions

In an insurance policy, the insurer may set conditions which you must fulfill in order for the policy to be valid, such as the installation of a security system in motor insurance. Violating these conditions could mean that your rates go up or your coverage becomes invalid.



Tell the truth

Whether you're applying online, by phone or by application form, make sure you answer all the insurer's questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. It's your obligation to disclose truthful and accurate details to the insurer. If you don't, your policy may be terminated, or any future claim could be rejected.

For example, if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition and are purchasing health insurance, you must disclose this information. Similarly, if you are applying for motor insurance, you must disclose any accidents, no matter how minor they were. Likewise, the insurance intermediary proposing you the coverage must disclose the critical information you need to know about your policy and its terms. They are bound by law to do so.



Take note of the cooling-off period

Policyholders of new life insurance policies are given a cooling-off period to review the terms and conditions of their long term insurance policies. The cooling-off period is 21 days after the delivery of a life insurance policy or issue of a notice to you or your representative, whichever is the earlier.

If you change your mind and wish to withdraw, you can give a written notice to your insurer within this period for a full refund of the insurance premiums (subject to a market value adjustment where applicable).



Don't sign any blank forms

Before you sign on a policy, check that you understand the policy terms and conditions, premiums and exclusions, and that you have been honest with your insurer. It is important for you not to sign any blank forms. You will be held responsible for the content of the document once you sign on it.



Keep a copy of your insurance policy and any other documents

An insurance policy lists all the particulars, including the coverage period, conditions and exclusions. You should keep a copy of it, along with all supporting documents that you've submitted to the insurer, in order to facilitate any claim or renewal in the future.