There’s good news on crime and your insurance costs

Health insurance, car insurance, caravan insurance, house and contents insurance … How much do you spend each year for what is, hopefully, peace of mind? And how often do you shop around or try to get a better deal?

That has never been more important – and likely to yield success – than in these pandemic days. COVID has changed so many aspects of our lives, mostly negatively, but some cheaper insurance policies should be a positive.

With lockdowns and more people working from home or isolating at home, vehicles are being used less often and neighbourhood crime has declined in many areas. That’s not only good news for your personal safety but also for your house, contents and vehicle insurances.  

Safer streets equals insurance savings.

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The prevalence of theft in a community is one of several factors used to determine the cost of a home and contents insurance policy, says insurance expert Stephen Zeller.

“Insurers look at crime rates periodically and adjust prices in line with changes,” he says. “If theft has reduced in your area, it’s worth checking to see if you could get a better deal.

“With so much of our lives put on hold in lockdown – and many people now routinely spending more time at home anyway – it’s the perfect time to check in with your expenses to see where you might be able to save money.”

According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, break and enters reduced significantly during the pandemic, with 18,424 incidents recorded between April 2020 and March 2021 compared to 25,288 in the previous year. The two-year trend for ‘steal from dwelling’ type offences was also down 13.8 per cent.

  • The two-year trend for break and enters in Sydney was down 28.4 per cent in April 2020-March 2021, with 529 offences occurring compared to 739 the previous year and 747 two years earlier. 
  • In Willoughby, break and enters were down 55.17 per cent, with 74 offences carried out in the April 2020-March 2021 period compared with 167 in the previous period and 192 across April 2018-March 2019.
  • In Lismore, the two-year household break and enter trend was down 45.5 per cent, with 110 offences reported between April 2020-March 2021.
  • On the Central Coast, there were 769 break and enters between April 2020 and March 2021 compared to 927 the previous year and 1050 between April 2018 and March 2019.
  • The two-year trend for break and enters was down 44.3 percent in Coffs Harbour and 23.3 per cent in Wollongong.

Break and enter statistics in Victoria were also down significantly in the year to March 2021, according to the Crime Statistics Agency, with a 5 per cent drop in criminal incidents overall.

Similarly, the Queensland government reported lower than expected crime rates, particularly in property offences.

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Other factors that can affect premiums include the likelihood of fire and flood and the age and structure of your property. Big savings are on offer for customers who buy policies online. Canstar reports that discounts of up to 30 per cent and fixed dollar discounts were available on many insurers in its database for people buying online.

Bundling insurances – for example house and contents – should also deliver policy reductions.

Put a reminder in your diary well before the renewal date so you have plenty of time to fight the good fight.

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At the same time, re-evaluate your needs. If you have more items in your home, you may need to increase the sum insured, but if you’ve been on a downsizing spree, you may be able to decrease the sum insured.

Just be sure to choose the policy that offers the best value – the one that offers the inclusions and features that best meet your needs. Consider product inclusions, deductibles, exclusions and coverage limits.

Have you been able to cut your insurance costs because of COVID? Do you check in with other insurers each year to see if you can find a more competitive price? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

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Janelle Ward
Janelle Ward
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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