Home and Contents Insurance Needs for the Over 50s
Our living arrangements often change as we enter our fifties, sixties and older decades.
This could be due to downsizing, moving to the warmer states, moving into a retirement village, an over 50s resort or other living option. It is important to remember that the move will trigger different insurance needs from your current arrangements.
Downsizing is becoming a very common step as we get older. It could be downsizing from a large family home to say a townhouse or an apartment or even smaller landed property.
In essence, this is no different from any other property transaction you may have carried out in the past. However, there are a few things worth remembering that could benefit you.
- Sometimes the apartment owner or body corporate will include some insurance elements within the body corporate fee and you don’t necessarily want to be doubling up on this insurance if you are already covered adequately for certain events.
- There are also some insurance companies that provide preferential premiums for seniors and you want to take advantage of what’s available, so ask around.
- Downsizing will usually often involve reducing the number of belongings that you take to your new but smaller house or apartment. Think about how this impacts the total value of the contents insurance you will require.
Surprisingly, it’s not always the case that you will require less insurance because you have divested yourself of many of the possessions you had in your old home. Sometimes the premium may increase because people take the downsizing opportunity to upsize lifestyle, furniture and electrical equipment and gadgets. This increases the value of the contents and the associated premiums.
If You’re Moving into a Retirement Village or Over 50s Resort
Whether you need to buy home insurance while living in a retirement village or over 50s resort depends on the retirement village or over 50s resort you have chosen. Some operators include it in the cost of their building insurance, and others don’t, so you need to check. When choosing a retirement community, make sure to check what your fees cover.
Even where the community operator covers building insurance they most likely would not cover contents insurance and you would have to arrange this separately. The good news is that as insurance companies decide the premiums they may take account of the enhanced security that most retirement villages and over 50s resorts offer.
The In-Between Time
If you are moving, it is likely that you will have some unused insurance cover relating to the house or apartment you are leaving. In this case, remember to tell your insurance company and request a refund of the premium for the unused period. Note that there could be an administration charge involved. If you plan to stay with the same insurer for your new place, it is sometimes easiest to get the insurer to record a credit for you which you can then apply when you take out the new insurance – but it all depends on your personal preference and circumstances.
If your move involves the purchase of a property it’s your responsibility to insure the new property, but sometimes people forget that it may also be your responsibility to insure the new place even though a settlement may not yet have taken place and you may not have moved in.
Speaking of moving, remember that your belongings are exposed during your move. Your professional movers may have some insurance coverage, but you want to make sure of this and make your own arrangements if you feel it’s needed.
If You’re Going to Rent
If your retirement plan involves renting accommodation, don’t assume that the landlord will take care of everything. This isn’t the case. Most likely, the landlord will have building and tenant insurance to protect the landlord’s interests, but this may not cover all the contents and you may be responsible for some of the landlord’s contents and you have to insure your own belongings and content.
If you Continue Living Where you Are
Many of us choose to continue living in the same apartment or house as we grow older. Even in these circumstances, it is good to review your insurance needs from time to time. At the very least ask your insurer about building costs and alter your insured amounts if needed.
Take stock of your contents and check the value against what you have actually insured for, in order to make sure you have optimal coverage for your particular circumstances.
The main message is that as your living circumstances change as you grow older, so will your insurance needs and it is important to review your insurance needs them from time to time.