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From travel to health: your Christmas insurance to-do list

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Many of us are counting down to the Christmas break, but in all of the excitement of the holidays, it's easy to forget to sort out our personal insurances, so we're not only covered, but importantly, so we are not paying too much.

Abigail Koch, spokesperson from comparison service comparethemarket.com.au gives her top tips on saving on insurance as we head into the Christmas period.

Car insurance

Car park scrapes and dings become all too common over the Christmas period as everyone squeezes in to the car park to finish off their shopping. Comprehensive car insurance not only protects your car, but can also give you cover for any damage to the gifts you've just purchased that were in your vehicle at the time of the accident (typically up to $500).

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If you're looking to save in the lead up to Christmas, then make sure you're not paying for anyone to be covered on your car insurance that doesn't regularly drive your car.

All too often, parents list their children on their policy while they're learning to drive, which hikes up the cost significantly, but then they forget to remove them once the kids have their own car. Many car insurers offer reduced premiums if you put an age limit on who drives your car e.g. over-30s only.

One of the best ways you could save on your car insurance is to switch your policy.

However, recent Roy Morgan research shows that 96.8% of Aussie car drivers say they're at least fairly likely to automatically renew their policy. This apathy to switching could be costing hundreds of dollars in savings. A simple way to check if you're on the best deal with your existing insurer is to reapply as a "new" customer. You could be surprised at the difference in price between what you're paying now and what you would be offered as a new customer.

Travel insurance

If you are jetting off somewhere then travel insurance is an absolute must, not only to protect your belongings, but more importantly to protect your health while abroad.

We encourage people to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday, as it doesn't just protect you while you're away, but rather protects the money you have spent on your holiday in case something should go wrong which means you are suddenly unable to travel.

An added bonus of travel insurance is that many policies include rental car insurance excess cover.

Often when you hire a car for your holiday, you are encouraged to take out expensive extra cover to bring down the cost of the excess you would have to pay if you had an accident.

Travel insurance will often cover this cost, which means you don't need to feel pressured to take out extra protection when you pick up your vehicle.

Home & contents insurance

Break-ins are common over holiday periods as thieves know that many properties are unoccupied.

Ensure your home is unattractive to criminals by always locking up, thereby making unauthorised access as difficult as possible. If you are going away, then recruit a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your place. Home & contents insurance will give you extra peace of mind that your belongings are covered for events like burglary and fire.

If you're planning an extra long holiday or even an extended work trip then make sure you give your home & contents insurer a call beforehand. If you're away from home for more than 60 days, and disaster strikes, then you could face a hefty "unoccupancy excess" when you go to make a claim, or worse still, you could find you're no longer covered at all.

Health insurance

If you have any health insurance claims hanging around that you haven't lodged yet, then it's important to get them in as soon as possible as many insurers reset their annual limits on 1 January.

Make the most of your annual limits by booking any necessary appointments and claiming back before the end of the year, otherwise you will have wasted this year's "benefit pot".

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