Have you got custody of your kids’ insurance?19 October, 2016
Adam Heath, Executive General Manager Portfolio & Products
If you’re a parent, you're the one making decisions about how to prioritise your money and make sure your kids’ needs are met. It’s quite simple when they’re small – basic costs will include money for clothes and nappies. But as they get older, you may be buying more expensive things like computers, mobile phones and bikes – and it’s important to make sure they’re protected.
That’s what your contents insurance is for. But how does it work if your children split their time between different households?
Is traditional insurance fit for diverse family arrangements?
According to research released this year by The Next Generation Study , only a quarter of 15-year-olds live with both their biological parents, and many have experienced multiple changes in who they live with.
Insurance models remain largely traditional, so how can parents with shared custody of their children make sure their contents insurance is protecting the things their kids value?
Make sure your kids are covered – regardless of where they live
What lives where - add it up
To understand how your kids’ belongings are covered, it’s important to think about where their items normally reside.
For example, you probably have beds and clothes for your kids at your home, even if they don’t live with you full time. Make sure that you’ve included the value of those items in your contents calculation when you take out a policy.
Items in transit
If you have primary custody, but your children also spend time living with another parent or maybe a grandparent, it’s important to have contents insurance in place that covers their belongings while they’re out of the home. Some cheaper insurance policies will only cover contents while it’s in your home, so make sure to check your policy carefully.
Talk it through
High ticket items like laptops and phones that kids take with them from place to place are more likely to be an insurance issue, and if you do need to make a claim you’ll usually need to pay an excess.
It may help to discuss insurance arrangements with your children’s other parent or guardians when you make expensive purchases for your children. Make sure it’s clear whose insurance will cover the item if it is lost or damaged, bearing in mind where your child - and the item - normally reside. If in doubt, talk it through with your insurer, broker or adviser.
Keep your receipts
If you need to make a claim, you may need to give details of the item or proof of purchase. It’s a good idea to keep receipts or serial numbers and photos – even if you’re not making the claim, the other parent may need them.
Check expensive items are listed separately on your policy
Most insurers set specific limits on some items, including jewellery, computers and bikes. It’s unlikely that your kids own things that exceed these limits but it is possible, especially for sporting equipment or musical instruments. It’s a good idea to check the value of these items to see if they exceed your policy limit (which can vary according to your insurance provider).
If you do own anything over that specified value, make sure it’s listed on your insurance policy.
Disputes and problems
If issues do arise, it’s always a good idea to talk to your insurance company about it.
For example, maybe you only have your kids on weekends but they’ve lost a laptop while they’re with you, and their other parent doesn’t want to claim for it. Talk to your insurance company about the circumstances and whether or not you can make a claim under your policy.
Don’t claim it twice
If something happens to your child’s belongings, it might be tempting to use the loss to claim twice – for example, claiming the same item on both parents’ contents policies.
Duplicating claims this way is insurance fraud and it’s not worth the risk. For more information about insurance fraud and how it could affect your financial future, read our update here.