The well-known African proverb says, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”, frankly it could have gone on to say, “If you financially empower a woman, you empower a nation.” Such is the role of women in our societies. Women have unique financial needs, and this Woman’s month, we would like to highlight the importance of insurance as part of a holistic financial plan.
Karen Naidoo, Managing Director for Mutual & Federal Risk Financing, a subsidiary owned by Old Mutual Insure, says while many women have realised the power of insuring their valuable assets, there is still a long way to go towards complete financial independence.
“The point remains that insurance is crucial to protect against unanticipated accidents and disasters that can lead to financial ruin, which is why it is so important to take the time to look after your assets,” explains Naidoo.
In light of August being celebrated as Women’s Month across South Africa, Naidoo urges all women to take the empowering steps to learn more about their personal finances, including reviewing their insurance policies.
“As women, we tend to leave the financial responsibilities up to others, but the reality is that we have unique needs. Besides, taking the time to understand what your insurance needs are, how to protect your valuable assets is an empowering step that gives you peace of mind and freedom to enjoy your life and worry less,” says Naidoo.
Below are Naidoo’s top take-outs on the unique insurance needs of women.
1. Stay secure on the road
Roadside assistance is an insurance value-add that was designed with women in mind. “Changing a tyre is hard work, and many responsible dads tell their daughters that they need to learn how to change a tyre before being given the keys to dad’s wheels, but a good insurance policy will include roadside assistance to do the hard work for you,” says Naidoo.
2. If you would rather have a handbag than flowers, then protect it
It was the comedian Billy Connelly who said, “A woman’s mind is as complex as the contents of her handbag; even when you get to the bottom of it, there is always something to surprise you.” Many men are as fascinating as they are terrified of peeping into a woman’s handbag. And rightfully so, given that they usually hold everything valuable to us – from phones and house keys to bank cards and cash. If they are stolen or misplaced, it can be a considerable inconvenience and financial drain.
Naidoo suggests that women opt for handbag insurance if your insurer offers it to enjoy the peace of mind of an agreed pay-out without having to catalogue the contents of your handbags following a loss event.
“Women often fail to insure the contents of their handbags, but when they do, they often under insure them. It is vital, for example, to make sure jewellery is insured for its replacement value,” says Naidoo.
3. Diamonds may be your best friend, but make sure they are covered
Naidoo says there is nothing quite as devastating as having your precious jewellery collection stolen, only to find out that it was not insured at the correct value, leaving you out-of-pocket, or worse, you didn’t have it insured in the first place.
“When women insure personal items like jewellery, expensive designer shoes and clothing, they often underinsure it because they mistakenly believe that not everything may be lost at once,” says Naidoo.
She suggests that women calculate their maximum exposure and insure for that value. You may also need to check which items must be specified individually, such as your wedding ring or one-in-a-kind diamond earrings.
Naidoo suggests listing brand-name shoes, designer sunglasses, and expensive watches in the All Risk section of your policy to avoid any issues should these items get damaged, lost or stolen while you are out-and-about this Women’s month or any other time of the year.
4. Your wheels, the key to your independence
For many women, their car symbolises more than a means of transport: It is a symbol of how hard they have worked to earn a place in the world, as well as a symbol of independence, so it makes sense to protect it.
According to InsWeb, an online insurance comparison provider, women pay an average of 9% less than men do for their car insurance policies.
“It pays to be a woman driver because women generally have a better risk profile than men, meaning that their premiums are usually better. This is because women are usually more risk-averse than men.”
Getting the basics right
Naidoo says that if you do anything this month, it should be to ensure you have the bare minimum cover in place this Woman’s Month, including household contents, cover; personal all risks insurance covering items outside of the home worn on the person; specific insurance for jewellery, handbags and other collectable or intrinsically high-value items; identity theft cover; adequate travel insurance cover post-COVID-19 with particular cover for medical expenses related to pandemics; and lastly, roadside and home assistance cover with access numbers saved on phones for easy access.
“Lastly, there is no better way to learn about insurance than to go through your insurance policy or telephone your broker for a quick chat. The schedule lists what is covered, what the replacement value of each item is, and what your insurance costs,” concludes Naidoo.