Safely removing a tree from your property

(Your Loan Hub)

Established trees can enhance a property, so tree removal is generally a last resort. Given that  a tree is a living organism – often a large and very heavy one – specialist skills are required even for partial removal jobs. Safe tree removal involves more than just a chainsaw and a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. Here’s what you should know before you start chopping.

Trees are an important part of the urban landscape. Just as a healthy, mature tree can add to the value and enjoyment of your property by offering shade and attracting birds, an unhealthy tree can diminish it, or even become a liability. Tree removal therefore has practical, logistical, health and safety, and horticultural dimensions.

Trees need to be removed for a variety of reasons. Your tree might be diseased, harbouring pests, at the end of its life or presenting some kind of obstruction or danger to infrastructure or human safety. Sometimes an expert prune can fix the problem, but when pruning is no longer sufficient, the next step might be removal.


The legalities of tree removal

Because of the heritage and environmental value of trees, most local councils have developed protection policies regulating their removal.

Many residential areas are protected by planning controls that require a permit for vegetation removal or pruning. Often, local councils have audited trees in their area and identified certain trees as canopy trees or trees of significance. If a tree is subject to a council overlay, or listed as a significant tree or canopy tree, a tree works permit may be required to carry out work on or around the tree, even if it is on private land.

If you’ve identified a tree on your property requiring partial or total removal, it’s worth checking to find out if it’s protected. Most councils make their tree policies and management guidelines freely available on their websites. Contact your local council to be sure of where you stand.


Seeking specialist advice

In most cases, it’s worth consulting a local tree specialist. An experienced arborist does more than just safely remove the tree; they can advise on tree care and take care of the legalities too, all as part of the service. Once you’ve located a reputable local arborist, ask them to visit you to provide a quote. This initial meeting is your opportunity to learn about the various elements of the job.

Make sure the arborist is qualified, experienced, fully insured and acts in compliance with relevant local and state laws. Get more than one quote, check their references and examine the quote to determine what work is included in the price. The lowest quote isn’t always the best. Does the quote include clean up and disposal of materials? Is removal of the stump an additional cost? Does the quote specify start and end dates, or the hourly rate of additional work, if required?

An arborist will investigate all tree management options before removing the tree. If necessary, your tree expert can recommend and undertake other tree care services, including insect and disease control options, cabling or bracing for additional tree support, and assistance with planning and risk management.


Removing the stump

In many cases, removing the tree will only be part of the job. The most infuriating task still lies ahead. If you’re left with a stump to remove, there are several ways you can do it yourself: by hand, with a grinder, treating it with chemicals, or rotting it. Each of these methods has its challenges and risks, so if you’re in any doubt, consult an arborist or a stump removal professional.

Unless a tree is relatively small and has a shallow root system, removal can damage your property and cause serious injuries. It’s worth seeking out specialist advice for all but the simplest jobs.

 

Source: Your Loan Hub

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Renters insurance: Cover your stuff as no one else will

(Know Risk)

Owning a home is pretty much everybody’s dream but it isn’t always achievable. Renting is generally the next best option. But while some people may feel that renting isn’t a great use of your money, don’t feel too blue; there are certainly some financial positives to consider, like the following:

Sure, you might be paying a fortune in rent, but you’re still paying less than a mortgage.

  • Without said mortgage tying you down, you’re free to travel and pretty much leave whenever you please.
  • While your landlord is forking out the big bucks for property insurance, all you need to worry about is renters insurance, which is much cheaper.

What say we home in on that last point, hey?

What is this renters insurance you speak of?

In a nutshell, renters insurance is pretty much like contents insurance and it is designed specifically for people who call a rented property home.

The owner of the rental is responsible for insuring the property itself — the foundation, roof, walls, fixtures, etc. As for the contents inside the rental, if you own said contents, then you are responsible for insuring them.

Why should I consider getting renters insurance?

There are many good reasons to investigate the option of renters insurance — let’s have a look at a few of the key advantages.


YOUR LANDLORD’S INSURANCE WILL BE OF ZERO HELP TO YOU

There seems to be a myth among some renters that the landlord’s insurance will extend to the theft or destruction of the renter’s property. Let’s clear that up now: That is absolutely not the case.


FIRE AND THEFT COVERAGE

If your belongings are damaged in a fire or stolen, renters insurance will cover you. While fire and theft are the bread and butter of most renters insurance policies, coverage will vary between insurers — some may cover you for water damage, other natural disasters, explosions or vandalism, as well.


STATISTICS AREN’T EXACTLY IN THE RENTER’S FAVOUR

Unfortunately, the Insurance Council of Australia has some bad news for renters. According to their research, 74 per cent of renters don’t have insurance (only 7 per cent of homeowners are without relevant insurance), but renters are twice as likely to suffer the ill effects of theft. So, there’s that.


LIABILITY COVERAGE

If someone comes over to your place (be it for something boring — like to fix an appliance — or for something exciting — like a night of wine indulgence and viewing of The Bachelor) and they happen to injure themselves or you manage to injure them, you are liable for any costs that arise from their injury. Renters insurance will typically cover you for any legal liability up to a certain monetary limit, so you can have peace of mind that your over-served friend falling off the couch isn’t going to end up costing you some serious coin.


ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE COVERAGE

Although policies will vary between insurers, some providers will cover you for accidental damage. Such coverage is typically related to the damage of fittings or fixtures in the place that you are renting, whether it be you who inflicts the damage or that over-served friend we previously mentioned.


YOUR ASSETS ARE PROBABLY WORTH MORE THAN YOU THINK

You might think that just because you don’t actually own the home you’re living in that your assets aren’t exactly plentiful. Well, chances are, you’re wrong about that. This is relevant for two reasons: 1. You’re actually wealthier than you think you are, and 2. Renters insurance just became an even more important option to consider.

If you’ve underestimated the value of your belongings, then you aren’t alone — apparently 2.5 million Australian rental households are right there with you.

Big-ticket items are easy to identify, things like laptops, iPads, jewellery and your furniture. But don’t forget the smaller stuff — your clothes, kitchen utensils and appliances, artwork, bed linens, DVDs, CDs, books. You might actually be surprised by the sheer volume of stuff you own.

Research shows that the average value of the contents owned by someone who moves straight out of their parents’ home and into a rental is $15,000. That’s a lot higher than one would estimate, so if you’ve been renting for quite some time, you could actually have tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff.

IT’S NOT ENTIRELY UNAFFORDABLE

Sure, it might not be a totally inconsequential cost, but renters insurance is likely more affordable than you thought it would be.

Obviously, premiums will vary between insurers, but $20,000 worth of cover averages out to between $7 and $12 per week, depending on the insurer and the nature of coverage. We’re going to guess that’s a whole lot cheaper than your weekly wine budget.


So, you’re saying I should get renters insurance?

No, we aren’t advocating either way. Only you can know whether the specifics of your situation — insurance affordability, quantity of valuables, how important said valuables are to you, likelihood of an insurance-related event, etc. — make renters insurance a worthwhile pursuit.

What, we are saying, however, is that you should certainly investigate the possibility. Do an inventory of your belongings and how valuable they are. How would you handle the destruction or theft of any or all of these belongings? How would such a loss affect you financially? How would insurance be of benefit to you in such a situation? Can you survive without it?

If the idea of renters insurance appeals to you, do some research on the types and nature of policies available. Make sure you get a few quotes from different insurers and, most importantly, make a decision that is right for you.

Source: Know Risk

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High school students are prime targets for opportunistic thieves

(KnowRisk)

Is your child at risk?

We all value the benefits and convenience that technology brings and these days, it’s important for students to be immersed in the technological space. That said, there is a downside: New research has found that 78 per cent of Australian high school students are carrying up to $1000 worth of items with them daily in school bags jam-packed with technology, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves.

The survey of 375 Australian parents with school children over 12 years old showed:

  • 73 per cent carry a mobile phone;
  • 38 per cent carry a laptop;
  • 27 per cent carry a tablet computer;
  • 17 per cent carry an MP3 Player; and
  • 5 per cent carry a digital camera.

More and more, technology is becoming a central part of the classroom and for family communication. Theft or loss of common items of technology from schoolbags is an emerging issue and it’s important to keep these valuables protected when taken outside the home.

Over 80 per cent of the parents surveyed revealed their children are walking around with devices in their bags, making the humble backpack a potential gold mine for thieves.

With so many items of value in one handy, easy-to-carry place, the cost of replacing them could be several hundred to several thousand dollars. Here are some ways you can protect your treasured tech:

  • Don’t bring valuables to school – While this may seem a little uncool, the best way to prevent theft is to leave your valuables at home.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself – The less you wave your new technology around, the less people will see it.
  • Get portable item insurance – Portable item insurance is an add-on to a normal home and contents insurance policy and covers you for items taken outside the home.

Source KnowRisk

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Bedrooms should have smoke alarms: fireys

Christine McGinn
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Every bedroom needs a smoke alarm and it’s not good enough just to have one in a nearby hallway, Tasmania Fire Service says.

While the suggestion is not mandatory, authorities believe it will save lives.

A hallway smoke alarm sometimes isn’t close enough to wake someone if a fire sparks in the bedroom where the majority of fatal house fires start at night, says TFS community fire safety director Sandy Whight.

“If a fire starts in the bedroom it will be too late if the closest smoke alarm is in the hallway,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The more smoke alarms you have in a house the quicker you will be alerted to a fire to allow the safe evacuation for you and your family.”

Residential properties must have a working smoke alarm – either hard wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery – by law.

“Of the 100 house fires TFS crews have responded to since March, almost 80 per cent of those were caused accidentally,” Ms Whight said.

“We can’t prevent all fires, so we need the community to give themselves the best chance of surviving a house fire by ensuring they have adequate smoke alarms.”

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Your rights as an online shopper

(KnowRisk)

You’ve got to fight for your right for a bargain

Between the often-discounted pricing, the fact you don’t have to move from your couch to make a purchase and the anticipation of your package arriving, online shopping is perhaps the greatest gift technology has ever given us. Sure, there are all those wonderful technological developments that allow us to stay in touch with people we love when we can’t be close to them, but with online shopping, we get actual tangible stuff, and we are not ashamed to admit that we like having stuff.

But what exactly are our rights as consumers in the online world, as opposed to the very clear rights we have as consumers when we shop at an actual store? When we buy something on eBay or use PayPal to pay for our online purchases, what kind of warranties or guarantees apply, if at all? Is it simply a case of tough luck if the product is falsely advertised or never makes its way to us?

While the world of online shopping and consumer rights is a little bit of a murky area, let’s have a look at what we know for sure when it comes to eBay, PayPal, your rights as a consumer in Australia and New Zealand, and the sorts of precautions you should take before you click “purchase”. 

eBay guarantees

eBay imposes responsibilities on both buyers and sellers. Buyers need to get themselves up to speed on guarantees and warranties, as well as the terms of sale listed by the seller. Sellers must be honest in their descriptions (quantity, age, authenticity, condition, size and usage of an item being sold must all be accurately presented) and ship the purchased items promptly.

eBay notes that the listing description is an implied guarantee. So, if the purchased item is different to what was noted in the listing description, eBay instructs the purchaser to contact the seller to rectify the situation. If no resolution is reached, the purchaser can then dispute the transaction with eBay.

Here are some important things to know about purchases made via eBay:

  • Buyer’s remorse or a failure to read the listing description properly are tough luck situations.
  • If the seller offered insurance and you didn’t purchase it, they are under no obligation to provide you with a refund or replacement if the purchased item is damaged while in transit.
  • eBay does offer a Money Back Guarantee if your order varies from its description or never arrives. However, the item must be purchased on the United States eBay site and a series of complicated payment-specific requirements must be met.

PayPal guarantees

PayPal’s guarantees are a little more straightforward: It provides access to its Resolution Centre, which is a forum through which users are able to dispute a purchase if it never arrives or if a purchased product varies from the product advertised.

PayPal is very clear about the fact that if you purchase a product and the item never arrives, you will receive a full refund if the seller is unable to provide proof of shipment or delivery.

In order for a purchase to be considered as different from what was advertised, one of the following circumstances must apply:

  • The item is completely different.
  • The condition of the item was misrepresented.
  • Parts or features are missing, but this was not conveyed.
  • The purchased quantity of the item is not the quantity of the item that was received.
  • The item is counterfeit.
  • The item was damage while in transit.

Like eBay, buyer’s remorse is not covered.

Regardless of whether your order didn’t arrive or it wasn’t what was advertised, you must dispute the transaction within 180 days of purchase. PayPal then provides a forum through which you can resolve the issue with the seller. If no agreement can be reached, then you can escalate your dispute to a claim and PayPal will provide a final decision.

Consumer rights in Australia and New Zealand

Legislation in both Australia and New Zealand sets out clear expectations of sellers and rights for consumers.

Australian Consumer Law requires the following of businesses that sell goods and services, be they online or in an actual store:

  • Australian safety regulations must be met.
  • Automatic guarantees must be provided that enable the purchaser to seek a refund, replacement, repair, compensation or cancellation if there is an issue with the purchased item.
  • The seller must have the right to sell the item — i.e. the item in question must belong to the seller in full (it can’t be under finance) and it must not be stolen.
  • The seller must not provide misleading information about the item, hide information or keep costs hidden.

It’s important to note that Australian Consumer Law doesn’t apply when products are bought via an auction site (so, eBay purchases are only covered by Australian Consumer Law if they are bought at a fixed price) or when items are purchased via a private seller.

In New Zealand, the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act apply. The former piece of legislation requires the following of those selling goods online:

  • They must make it clear that they are eligible to trade.
  • They must not mislead consumers about their rights and obligations.
  • Any claims made about the product or service in question must have a reasonable basis and sellers must ensure accurate representations about the good or service are made.
  • They must comply with any consumer information standards or product safety requirements that apply.

The Consumer Guarantees Act requires that all goods purchased must:

  • Be priced reasonably
  • Match the description given
  • Be the property of the seller and, therefore, able to be legally sold
  • Match any sample or demonstration given
  • Be of a quality that is acceptable
  • Meet the terms of any manufacturer’s warranty
  • Be fit for the intended purpose
  • Arrive on time and in a condition that is acceptable

In both Australia and New Zealand, consumer guarantees apply to purchases made online with an Australian or New Zealand company, as well as purchases made online with an overseas company. However, buyers should be aware that it can be harder to remedy complaints made against overseas companies given the practical difficulties involved.

 

Source: KnowRisk

Read it on Apple news

Your rights as an online shopper

(KnowRisk)

You’ve got to fight for your right for a bargain

Between the often-discounted pricing, the fact you don’t have to move from your couch to make a purchase and the anticipation of your package arriving, online shopping is perhaps the greatest gift technology has ever given us. Sure, there are all those wonderful technological developments that allow us to stay in touch with people we love when we can’t be close to them, but with online shopping, we get actual tangible stuff, and we are not ashamed to admit that we like having stuff.

But what exactly are our rights as consumers in the online world, as opposed to the very clear rights we have as consumers when we shop at an actual store? When we buy something on eBay or use PayPal to pay for our online purchases, what kind of warranties or guarantees apply, if at all? Is it simply a case of tough luck if the product is falsely advertised or never makes its way to us?

While the world of online shopping and consumer rights is a little bit of a murky area, let’s have a look at what we know for sure when it comes to eBay, PayPal, your rights as a consumer in Australia and New Zealand, and the sorts of precautions you should take before you click “purchase”. 

eBay guarantees

eBay imposes responsibilities on both buyers and sellers. Buyers need to get themselves up to speed on guarantees and warranties, as well as the terms of sale listed by the seller. Sellers must be honest in their descriptions (quantity, age, authenticity, condition, size and usage of an item being sold must all be accurately presented) and ship the purchased items promptly.

eBay notes that the listing description is an implied guarantee. So, if the purchased item is different to what was noted in the listing description, eBay instructs the purchaser to contact the seller to rectify the situation. If no resolution is reached, the purchaser can then dispute the transaction with eBay.

Here are some important things to know about purchases made via eBay:

  • Buyer’s remorse or a failure to read the listing description properly are tough luck situations.
  • If the seller offered insurance and you didn’t purchase it, they are under no obligation to provide you with a refund or replacement if the purchased item is damaged while in transit.
  • eBay does offer a Money Back Guarantee if your order varies from its description or never arrives. However, the item must be purchased on the United States eBay site and a series of complicated payment-specific requirements must be met.

PayPal guarantees

PayPal’s guarantees are a little more straightforward: It provides access to its Resolution Centre, which is a forum through which users are able to dispute a purchase if it never arrives or if a purchased product varies from the product advertised.

PayPal is very clear about the fact that if you purchase a product and the item never arrives, you will receive a full refund if the seller is unable to provide proof of shipment or delivery.

In order for a purchase to be considered as different from what was advertised, one of the following circumstances must apply:

  • The item is completely different.
  • The condition of the item was misrepresented.
  • Parts or features are missing, but this was not conveyed.
  • The purchased quantity of the item is not the quantity of the item that was received.
  • The item is counterfeit.
  • The item was damage while in transit.

Like eBay, buyer’s remorse is not covered.

Regardless of whether your order didn’t arrive or it wasn’t what was advertised, you must dispute the transaction within 180 days of purchase. PayPal then provides a forum through which you can resolve the issue with the seller. If no agreement can be reached, then you can escalate your dispute to a claim and PayPal will provide a final decision.

Consumer rights in Australia and New Zealand

Legislation in both Australia and New Zealand sets out clear expectations of sellers and rights for consumers.

Australian Consumer Law requires the following of businesses that sell goods and services, be they online or in an actual store:

  • Australian safety regulations must be met.
  • Automatic guarantees must be provided that enable the purchaser to seek a refund, replacement, repair, compensation or cancellation if there is an issue with the purchased item.
  • The seller must have the right to sell the item — i.e. the item in question must belong to the seller in full (it can’t be under finance) and it must not be stolen.
  • The seller must not provide misleading information about the item, hide information or keep costs hidden.

It’s important to note that Australian Consumer Law doesn’t apply when products are bought via an auction site (so, eBay purchases are only covered by Australian Consumer Law if they are bought at a fixed price) or when items are purchased via a private seller.

In New Zealand, the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act apply. The former piece of legislation requires the following of those selling goods online:

  • They must make it clear that they are eligible to trade.
  • They must not mislead consumers about their rights and obligations.
  • Any claims made about the product or service in question must have a reasonable basis and sellers must ensure accurate representations about the good or service are made.
  • They must comply with any consumer information standards or product safety requirements that apply.

The Consumer Guarantees Act requires that all goods purchased must:

  • Be priced reasonably
  • Match the description given
  • Be the property of the seller and, therefore, able to be legally sold
  • Match any sample or demonstration given
  • Be of a quality that is acceptable
  • Meet the terms of any manufacturer’s warranty
  • Be fit for the intended purpose
  • Arrive on time and in a condition that is acceptable

In both Australia and New Zealand, consumer guarantees apply to purchases made online with an Australian or New Zealand company, as well as purchases made online with an overseas company. However, buyers should be aware that it can be harder to remedy complaints made against overseas companies given the practical difficulties involved.

 

Source: KnowRisk

Read it on Apple news

High school students are prime targets for opportunistic thieves

(KnowRisk)

Is your child at risk?

We all value the benefits and convenience that technology brings and these days, it’s important for students to be immersed in the technological space. That said, there is a downside: New research has found that 78 per cent of Australian high school students are carrying up to $1000 worth of items with them daily in school bags jam-packed with technology, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves.

The survey of 375 Australian parents with school children over 12 years old showed:

  • 73 per cent carry a mobile phone;
  • 38 per cent carry a laptop;
  • 27 per cent carry a tablet computer;
  • 17 per cent carry an MP3 Player; and
  • 5 per cent carry a digital camera.

More and more, technology is becoming a central part of the classroom and for family communication. Theft or loss of common items of technology from schoolbags is an emerging issue and it’s important to keep these valuables protected when taken outside the home.

Over 80 per cent of the parents surveyed revealed their children are walking around with devices in their bags, making the humble backpack a potential gold mine for thieves.

With so many items of value in one handy, easy-to-carry place, the cost of replacing them could be several hundred to several thousand dollars. Here are some ways you can protect your treasured tech:

  • Don’t bring valuables to school – While this may seem a little uncool, the best way to prevent theft is to leave your valuables at home.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself – The less you wave your new technology around, the less people will see it.
  • Get portable item insurance – Portable item insurance is an add-on to a normal home and contents insurance policy and covers you for items taken outside the home.

Source KnowRisk

Read it on Apple news

Bedrooms should have smoke alarms: fireys

Christine McGinn
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Every bedroom needs a smoke alarm and it’s not good enough just to have one in a nearby hallway, Tasmania Fire Service says.

While the suggestion is not mandatory, authorities believe it will save lives.

A hallway smoke alarm sometimes isn’t close enough to wake someone if a fire sparks in the bedroom where the majority of fatal house fires start at night, says TFS community fire safety director Sandy Whight.

“If a fire starts in the bedroom it will be too late if the closest smoke alarm is in the hallway,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The more smoke alarms you have in a house the quicker you will be alerted to a fire to allow the safe evacuation for you and your family.”

Residential properties must have a working smoke alarm – either hard wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery – by law.

“Of the 100 house fires TFS crews have responded to since March, almost 80 per cent of those were caused accidentally,” Ms Whight said.

“We can’t prevent all fires, so we need the community to give themselves the best chance of surviving a house fire by ensuring they have adequate smoke alarms.”

Read it on Apple news

6 emergency numbers to have on hand

(KnowRisk)

There are some phone numbers it is important to have easy access to, particularly in an emergency situation or if you find yourself stranded for whatever reason.

Everyone’s situation is different though so it’s worth sitting down and compiling a list for yourself. Write them down and keep them in your wallet or by your landline, or store them in your mobile, either way, make sure they are easy to get to. Below are a few suggestions to get you started. 

  1. Emergency services
    000 (Australia) and 111 (New Zealand).
  2. After hours medical assistance
    National GP Help Line (Aus) 1800 022 222 and National Healthline (NZ) 0800 611 116.
  3. Poison information Centre
    13 11 26 (Aus) and 0800 764 766 (NZ).
  4. Roadside help
    Your roadside assistance or vehicle insurer in the case of theft, accident or breakdown.
  5. Next of kin
    Your next of kin or a reliable friend’s phone number in case you need to get hold of someone.
  6. Banking
    Your bank or credit card provider’s emergency hotline in the case your card is missing or stolen.

Source: KnowRisk

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Common insurance words explained

(KnowRisk)

If you’ve ever wondered what certain insurance concepts mean, here’s a quick guide to help de-mystify some of the language. Bear in mind that many of the terms have a specific technical meaning in certain contexts that may not be covered here.

Always check your product disclosure statement (PDS) which contains important insurance details to help you make the right choice or alternatively speak to your insurance provider.

Abandonment When a claim occurs, the person who holds the insurance policy may have the right to abandon the property insured, hand it over to the insurance company, and claim the policy money.
Acceptance The acceptance of risk by an insurer.
Accident cover Provides benefits to an insured person in the event of an accident. It usually provides  insurance cover for injury or death from violent, accidental, external and visible means.
Actual total loss Where the property that is insured is completely destroyed or so badly damaged that it is no longer a thing to be insured or the insured person no longer has access to it.
Agent A person who acts as an agent on behalf of the insurer for the purposes of arranging insurance. See also ‘intermediary’.
Authorised representative A person who provides financial services on behalf of one or more Australian Financial Services licence holders. ASIC must be notified when an authorised representative is appointed.  ASIC will issue the representative with a unique identification number. See also ‘ASIC’.
Average Also referred to as ‘co-insurance’.  Average describes a situation where an insurer can penalise the insured who under-insures property. Where it applies, the insured is considered to be a self-insurer for the amount under-insured and will also have to bear a rateable share of partial losses in proportion to the extent of under-insurance. See also ‘Insured’.
 ASIC Australian Securities and Investments Commission. ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.
 Binder An authority given by an insurer to a third party to act as an agent to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the insurer. Some binders give the agent authority to deal with and settle claims on the insurer’s behalf as well.
 Breach Breaking a legal obligation such as a breach of a condition in a policy—e.g. failing to comply with a condition requiring notification of an accident within 30 days of the accident.
Broadform liability insurance A form of liability insurance that usually covers both public liability and product liability. It covers the insured’s legal responsibility for loss or injury which it causes to a third party or to their property.  See also ‘product liability’ and ‘public liability’.
Broker A person who acts as an agent of the insured for the purposes of arranging insurance. A broker may deal with more than one insurer to find the best solution for the insured. This is different from an authorised representative who acts as agent on behalf of one insurer. See also ‘intermediary’.
Brokerage The money the insured pays to the broker for placing the insurance for it. This is normally paid as a percentage deducted from the premium owing to the insurer.
Business interruption insurance See ‘consequential loss insurance’.
Business pack A number of insurance policies required by a business which are combined into one policy or package—e.g. fire damage to property, burglary, liability etc. Business packs are sometimes tailored to cover the risks of a particular industry or business—e.g. motor dealers, builders etc. See also ‘combined insurances’.
Cancellation The termination of a policy during the policy period by either the insured or the insurer. Depending on the reason for the cancellation and the policy terms, the insured may be entitled to a refund of some of the premium. This is different from lapse which is termination of a policy at the end of the policy period. See also ‘lapse’.
Certificate of Insurance A document that proves an insurance contract is current. Also called a ‘Certificate of Currency’.  Brief details of the persons insured and the cover provided are set out. Usually Certificates of Insurance are required by finance companies to confirm that their interests are being protected and that insurance is current.
 Claim A claim is made when an insured contacts its insurer to notify it that an event the insured believes may be covered by the policy has occurred, or is likely to occur, requiring a payout by the insurer.
 Claims history The history of losses the insured has had which have been covered by insurance.
Claims made insurance An insurance contract which provides cover for claims first made by a third party against the insured and notified  by the insured to the insurer during the term of the policy, regardless of when the circumstances which gave rise to the claim occurred. This is different from occurrence based insurance. See also ‘occurrence based insurance’.
Code of Practice (general) The Insurance Council of Australia, as a response to the needs of the insurance industry and with the assistance of the Insurance Enquiries and Complaints Ltd (IEC), developed the General Insurance Code of Practice (Code). The Code is a self-regulatory form of regulation, that is, the insurance industry, not the government, is responsible for making it work.  The overall aim of the Code is to raise service standards across the general insurance industry. It applies across the insurance industry to insurers, their employees, agents, investigators, assessors, loss adjusters and collection agents.
Co-insurance This is where an insured has an amount insured which does not equal the full value of the insured property and is required by the policy to share in the risk with the insurer. See also ‘average’.
A number of insurance policies are combined into one policy. A ‘business pack’ is a good example of this. See also ‘Business pack’.
Combined insurances A number of insurance policies are combined into one policy. A ‘business pack’ is a good example of this. See also ‘Business pack’.
Compulsory insurance Insurance arranged in order to comply with the law—e.g. workers compensation insurance or compulsory third party insurance. Also referred to as ‘statutory insurance’.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) This insurance is required under legislation in the various states and territories. It covers liability for bodily injury to third parties arising out of the use of a motor vehicle. It is a class of statutory insurance.
Consequential loss insurance A loss of property may also result in a ‘loss of profits’ and/or additional expenses. This is a loss which is a consequence of the property loss. Consequential loss insurance is usually referred to as ‘business interruption’ insurance. It is available as an addition to a property policy. See also ‘business interruption insurance’.
Contra proferentum rule The legal rule by which the words of an author are to be construed against the author where the meaning of the words is ambiguous. Therefore, any ambiguity in an insurer’s proposal form or policy wording will be construed against the insurer. This rule will only be applied where there is a real ambiguity
Contribution Where an insured has two or more insurance policies which cover the same risk, the insured can claim in full against either of the policies. The insurer of the chosen policy can then require the insurer of the other policy to make a proportional contribution towards that loss. Given that the insurance policies are subject to the rule of indemnity, the insured is prevented from making a profit from his/her claims. The insured cannot recover more than the amount of his/her loss.
Cooling-off period A period of not less than 14 days which must be provided to retail clients on retail products. During this time a client may return the policy and receive a full refund of the premium unless a claim has been made. See also ‘retail client’ and ‘retail product’.
Coverage Refers to the specific protection or the listed benefits your policy gives you.
Cover note A contract of insurance intended by the insurer to provide temporary insurance cover and which is to be replaced by another contract of insurance.
 
Dealing  This is a Financial Services Reform Act (FSRA) term—the FSRA is now part of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)—meaning to apply for, acquire, vary or dispose of a financial product on behalf of another person.  See also ‘issue’.
Decline
To refuse.  For example, the insurer may decide not to accept a proposal for insurance or decline to accept a claim
Deductible The amount that the insured needs to pay prior to the insurer making any payment in respect of the insured’s claim under the policy. Sometimes called an ‘excess’.
Deferment period It is the waiting period which applies to an income protection policy or personal accident policy. For example, the insured may not be able to claim weekly benefits for sickness-related events until after a 21 day waiting period has passed. The 21 days would be the deferment period.

 

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6 emergency numbers to have on hand

(KnowRisk)

There are some phone numbers it is important to have easy access to, particularly in an emergency situation or if you find yourself stranded for whatever reason.

Everyone’s situation is different though so it’s worth sitting down and compiling a list for yourself. Write them down and keep them in your wallet or by your landline, or store them in your mobile, either way, make sure they are easy to get to. Below are a few suggestions to get you started. 

  1. Emergency services
    000 (Australia) and 111 (New Zealand).
  2. After hours medical assistance
    National GP Help Line (Aus) 1800 022 222 and National Healthline (NZ) 0800 611 116.
  3. Poison information Centre
    13 11 26 (Aus) and 0800 764 766 (NZ).
  4. Roadside help
    Your roadside assistance or vehicle insurer in the case of theft, accident or breakdown.
  5. Next of kin
    Your next of kin or a reliable friend’s phone number in case you need to get hold of someone.
  6. Banking
    Your bank or credit card provider’s emergency hotline in the case your card is missing or stolen.

Source: KnowRisk

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Maintaining your policy is as important as maintaining your home

(Know Risk)

When your various insurance policies are up for renewal, it can be tempting to take the easy route and just go ahead with the renewal and not think any further of it.

However, if you fail to take some important steps and do a little bit of research, you could be going ahead with a policy that hasn’t been adjusted to meet new circumstances in your life — therefore, rendering the policy mismatched for your needs — or, worse, failing to meet the contractual requirements specified by your insurer — therefore, possibly rendering your insurance policy null and void if you need to make a claim.

So, what sorts of things should you be doing at renewal to ensure that neither of these things happens? Let’s take a look.


Go over what your policy covers 

Have a look at the product disclosure statement and check to make sure that what your policy covers actually matches what you need it to cover. Then, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there many covered items that you don’t actually need cover for?
  • Are there items that are excluded that you actually require cover for?
  • Are the monetary limits of coverage satisfactory for your needs?
  • Have you made any additions or changes that would require more comprehensive or additional coverage? (For example, have you conducted any renovations to your home or purchased new contents?)
  • Do you plan to make any additions or changes in the coming year that will require more comprehensive or additional coverage?
  • Are you happy with the service you have received from your insurer over the previous year?

 

Asking yourself these questions and then carefully considering your answers will go a long way towards making sure your insurance policies are tailored to your needs and circumstances, and will be most beneficial if you ever need to make a claim.


Make sure to notify your insurer if your circumstances have changed 

Even the most minor things can affect your insurance policy, premium and likelihood of a claim being paid out. It is of utmost importance that you let your insurer know. We have included some further detail on what kinds of changes your insurer needs to know about further below.


Consider your payment schedule and excesses 

Renewal time is a good time for you to consider whether you’re happy with your existing payment schedule and excesses. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you prefer to pay a higher premium in exchange for a lower excess, or is it more important to you to pay a lower premium in exchange for a higher excess?
  • How would you like to go about paying the premium — does it work better for you to pay annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly? Is the option you’d prefer available?


Consider getting some quotes

The point of comparing insurance policies is, first and foremost, an activity in making sure your current policy is actually one that best fits your needs and circumstances. An ideal number of quotes to get is three. Then, make sure you compare excess options, coverage limits and exclusions.

While it can be tempting to simply choose the cheapest policy, this can often backfire if you ever need to make a claim. Your most important consideration when comparing quotes should always be the quality of the policy coverage and its relevance to your requirements.


Don’t just wait for renewal to update your policy 

While you should absolutely be doing all of these things when your insurance policies are up for renewal, it certainly pays to be proactive and do these things whenever your circumstances change.

If you move, you need to update your insurer. If you acquire new assets, you need to update your insurer. If you tint your car windows, you need to update your insurer. If you have an alarm system installed, you need to update your insurer. If you no longer park your car on the street, you need to update your insurer. If you start parking your car on the street, you need to update your insurer. If you sell expensive items and no longer need coverage for them, you need to update your insurer. If you are planning on renovating, you need to update your insurer. Has the pattern become obvious?

Basically, regardless of whether your policy is up for renewal, if something in your life changes and you think it might be even remotely relevant to your insurance policy, it’s in your best interests to notify your insurer. Sometimes, it can be the difference between a claim being paid out or not. And while you might think notifying your insurer will lead to a higher premium, there are many circumstances where keeping your insurer abreast of any changes will actually reduce your premium.

It’s also worth noting that anytime your circumstances change, you should consider doing some research, getting some quotes and making sure your current insurance policy is still the one best suited to your needs.


Keep track of your policies 

Keep track of your various insurance policies, and it’s especially helpful at renewal.

Keeping track of your insurance policies ensures you’re always aware of when your policies are up for renewal by setting up reminders on your phone. By doing so, you’ll receive a notification two weeks prior to your policy expiring or being due for renewal, giving you plenty of time to do all of the things you need to do to make sure your policy is the one that’s best for you. Simple!

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What to do after a flood

(Know Risk)

There’s no more water, what do you do now?

 

The floodwaters have gone down and you’re allowed to go back into your home. Even though it may seem safe, many dangers can still exist. Here are few things to remember in the days ahead:

  • Play it safe. There’s always a chance more flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information.
  • Stay tuned to the radio, television and any other news service to get information and expert advice as soon as it’s available.
  • Always avoid going near or into moving water.
  • Unless requested by police, fire fighters or other relief workers, stay away from damaged areas.
  • As emergency workers will be helping people in flooded areas, it is best to stay off the roads so they have access.
  • Return home only when authorities tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades will have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, find another route.
  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Be aware that your flooded properties could have unwelcome guests like snakes, spiders or other animals.

If you require more information about any of these topics, please contact your adviser.

 

Source: (Know Risk)

 

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What is a PDS and why you should read it when buying insurance?

(Know Risk)

Understanding one of the most important documents you will ever have

You may not be familiar with what a PDS is but you might have heard it in passing when you’ve been looking into insurance. If you have any kind of insurance policy in place, then you will have been sent a PDS, or Product Disclosure Statement, by your insurance company, so you may have actually had some interaction with a PDS even if you aren’t actually aware of what it is or even if you aren’t sure why it’s important.

Let’s break things down and investigate the purpose and benefits of a PDS in further detail.


What is it?

A PDS goes into detail about the terms and conditions of your policy, and is designed to provide adequate protection to both you and your insurer.

A PDS is usually a single document that insurers in Australia are legally required to give to their customers before an insurance policy is purchased. If you purchase your insurance online, you will be able to find the PDS on the insurance company’s website.


Why should I read it?

Although it might be tempting to tell yourself you’ll read the PDS later, or even just dismiss it completely, it’s really important that you not only hang on it, but that you make a point of reading it as soon as you can after it’s been issued to you (or online before you actually enter into an insurance contract).

When you’re shopping around for insurance and you have multiple PDSes from multiple prospective insurers, it will obviously be time-consuming to read each one, but it’s so important that you do — both as a tool to compare them (so you can determine which insurer’s policy is the right one for you) and so that you know the ins and outs of any policy you purchase.

Reading through a PDS will help you understand the finer details of what kinds of things a prospective policy will cover, as well as what is not covered and under what kinds of circumstances a claim will be denied. Without knowing these things, it’s possible you may purchase an insurance policy that isn’t actually right for you and that doesn’t cover the types of things that motivated you to get insurance in the first place.


What are important things I should be looking for in a PDS?

While you should always read a PDS in its entirety, some of the things you should be looking out for include:

  • Coverage — this not only includes what things/items are and are not covered, but also under what circumstances you are and aren’t covered
  • Limits and exclusions — this will include any monetary limits on items that are covered, as well as things that your policy doesn’t provide any coverage for
  • Cooling-off period — this is the amount of time (usually between 14 and 21 days) you have to cancel your policy if you are unhappy with it or change your mind.
  • Claims — the PDS will outline how to go about making a claim and what sorts of documentation and evidence will be required as part of the claim process. Any excesses that will need to be paid in order for a claim to be processed will also be listed.
  • Definitions — the PDS will define all of the relevant technical terms related to a policy to help you better understand your policy, as well as clear up any confusion about terms that may have multiple definitions.
  • Terms and conditions — this will detail the types of things that will void your policy, as well as what information you need to be forthcoming with your insurer about.
  • Complaints process — the PDS will include information on how to make an informal or formal complaint in the event you are unhappy with the insurance product or service.
  • Cancellation — the PDS will detail how to go about cancelling your policy beyond the cooling-off period and the implications of any such cancellation.

 

What can I do if I don’t really understand the content of a PDS?

You might actually be surprised about the extent to which plain English is used in a PDS, so there’s a good chance you will understand its content without guidance. But, of course, some insurance types are more complicated than others, which means that some PDSes will also be more complicated than others.

If you’re confused about any of the phrasing or terms and conditions outlined in a PDS, then make sure you follow up with your insurer as soon as you can. Your insurance company is there to help you and it will benefit both you and them if everyone is clear on the details.

Doing so will help ensure that you have a much clearer picture of which circumstances you are covered for and which circumstances aren’t covered by a prospective policy. Following up on things that you are unsure about will also help limit any surprises in the event you need to make a claim — and, let’s be real, surprises are fun on many occasions, but certainly not when it comes to insurance claims.

 

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Tips on Floods

(Know Risk)

Floods are not always caused by heavy rainfall. Flooding can also be caused by:

  • Seawater Flooding (after a cyclone or severe storm).
  • Tidal Flooding (Floods caused by high tides from higher than normal river water levels).
  • Run off from rivers and dams (eg, following a snow melt or when dams start to overflow).
  • Urban drainage. (When city drainage systems fail, people can be caught in stormwater drains, trapped in their cars, or even swept off roads by water).

 

Floods are not always devastating. Often they are welcome relief for areas suffering drought. They are a natural way for wetlands, and native waterways to survive. Soils with high salt levels can also benefit from flooding.


Types of Floods in Australia

SLOW-ONSET FLOODS

Inland rivers in the vast flat areas of Western Australia, central/western New South Wales and Queensland can often flood. These floods may take days to build-up. They can last for one or more weeks and can even last for months on some occasions.

The damage caused by floods in these areas can lead to major losses of livestock, cutting off rural towns and damaging crops, major roads and railways.

RAPID-ONSET FLOODS

As the name suggests, rapid-onset flooding happens more quickly than slow-onset floods. These floods can potentially be much more damaging and can pose a greater risk to loss of life and property because there’s generally much less time to take preventative action, and the flow of water is faster and more dangerous. This type of flooding can affect most of our major towns and cities.

FLASH FLOODS

Flash flooding results from short, intense bursts of rainfall, often from thunderstorms. It can occur in almost all parts of Australia and poses the greatest threat of loss of life. People are often swept away after entering floodwaters on foot or in vehicles. These floods can result in significant property damage and major social disruption. They are more serious in urban areas where drainage systems are often unable to cope.

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