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ISFO Ombudsman says read before you sign up

Money Week: Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman says read before you sign up

8 September 2016

The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman is joining the ‘know before you buy’ chorus on money week.

Each year, the IFSO Scheme deals with about 300 complaints and 3,000 complaint enquiries about insurance and financial services. “Many of the more common complaints could have been avoided if people took some time to read policies and understand contracts,” says Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens. “If you don’t understand, we encourage you to keep asking questions until you do.”

Look out for things like:

• Anything you are required to do under the contract or policy (for example locking your house and car, keeping receipts, disclosing information, reporting stolen items, using an alarm, making payments at particular times)

• Any limitations under the contract (for example exclusions for insurance or changes or hardship applications under a loan agreement)

• The process for making a claim or changing a contract (sometimes required in writing).

Insurance complaints (including house, contents, vehicle, health and travel) are by far the most common issues the IFSO Scheme deals with on a daily basis. “Insurance does not cover you for all things at all times,” says Karen. “But there are steps you can take to make sure your insurance will provide the cover you expect should you need it".

Common issues the IFSO Scheme investigates (see links to info sheets) relate to:

• Paying excesses

Vehicle insurance – including modifications to vehicles

• Breaching driver’s licence terms

Pre-existing conditions for health & travel insurance

Jewellery

Non-disclosure – what you need to tell your insurer

Sum insured

The IFSO Scheme has provided an independent and free complaint resolution service for consumers for 21 years. Case studies of complaints are available on our website: www.ifso.nz


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