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Insurance premiums are expensive – until you need to make a claim. And knowing precisely what your insurance covers can save much heartache down the track. Just ask those people devastated by the recent weather events across the country.

When reviewing or taking out a policy for the first time, assessing your risk is the very first step to ensuring the correct cover. For example, if you live next to a forest or river, home and contents insurance should include protection from bushfire and flood.

The flood crisis has highlighted the need to not only understand what your insurance policy includes but also how the cover is defined. For instance, there is no common definition of a flood and the definitions can change between insurance companies. Hence it’s so important to read the product leaflets, be comfortable with what they are offering and ask questions before paying for the policy.

Another important step in the insurance process is being realistic about the value of the items you are covering. As many as 80% of Australians are underinsured according to experts. Be realistic, even if it means a slightly higher premium, and review your assets every 12 months.

Other insurance tips include: pay monthly to spread the cost over 12 months, keep a logbook of valuables in your home that are covered under your contents policy and finally, if you do have issues with your insurance company when making a claim, the insurance ombudsmen might be the next step.

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