INSIGHTS WITH EVALESCO
Buying insurance through super has many advantages, but you need to make sure you are getting the right cover for your individual needs. In some cases, you may be paying for nothing.
Most super funds offer life and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance to fund members and, in some cases, income protection cover.
But since the introduction of the Protecting your Super reforms in 2019, this cover is no longer automatic.
If you have less than $6000 in your account or it has been inactive, then the insurance component will have been cancelled unless you advised the fund otherwise. An account may be deemed inactive if, for example, it has not received a contribution for more than 16 months.
In addition, insurance cover is no longer offered to new fund members aged under 25.
Is it right for you?
If you do have insurance in your super account, then it’s a good idea to check the cover is right for you. This is particularly the case now that the stapling measure has been introduced as part of the recent Your Future, Your Super legislation.
From November 1, unless you choose a new fund when you change jobs, the first fund you joined will be ‘stapled’ to you throughout your working life. This is where problems can arise; while the fund stays the same, so will the insurance cover.
Say you move from a low-risk job where the insurance offered in your super was more than adequate to a high-risk job such as in construction or mining. Would your insurance now cover you if you were no longer able to work? And if it did, would the cover be sufficient? It may well be that your new occupation is not even covered.
Most TPD policies within super are for “any” occupation rather than “own” occupation. This three-letter definition can make a world of difference. If you still have the capacity to work in some other occupation, then it is likely your insurance will not pay out.i
Despite this, there are still many benefits from having insurance cover in your super. Firstly, the premiums are generally lower because the fund buys the insurance cover in bulk. In addition, your premium payments are effectively lower as they come out of your pre-tax rather than your post-tax income.
What’s more, you are not having to put your hand in your pocket to pay the premiums as the money automatically comes out of your super. Of course, the flipside is you will have less money working to build your retirement savings.
So, when it comes to taking out insurance, going through your super has lots of positives.
But the downside is that the default level payout may be lower than you might need. You should check if this is the case and maybe consider making additional premium payments to give yourself and your family more appropriate cover. Be aware though that opting for a higher payout could mean you have to undergo a medical.
Also, life insurance cover in super actually reduces over time to the point where your cover reaches zero by the time you are 70. And for TPD cover it ceases at 65.ii
Wherever you get insurance cover, it’s important to remember that its purpose is generally to cover any outstanding debt and ongoing financial obligations should you pass away or become unable to work.
For this reason, it is important to regularly check your insurance within your super to ensure it is sufficient to maintain your lifestyle.
If it falls short, then you might also consider taking out a policy outside super.
While income protection is sometimes available through your super, it may be necessary to look outside. Such policies pay you a regular income for a specified period if you are unable to work through an illness or injury, and premiums are tax-deductible outside super.
When you are leading a busy life with lots of claims on your income, insurance may be seen as an unnecessary expense. But when it comes to the crunch, it can play a valuable role in you and your family’s life when you need it most.
Please call us to discuss your insurance needs and whether your existing cover, both inside super and outside, is sufficient.
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We believe the true value of financial advice isn’t found in dollars and cents (although this is important too!) but in the peace of mind a financial plan can provide. It’s knowing where you want to go and how to get there, with a dedicated team behind you every step of the way.
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The amount of super you’ll need when you retire depends on your big costs in retirement and the lifestyle you want. The Associate of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates for a single $44,224 a year and for couples $62,562 a year is how much you may need. This is only an indicator and our advisers assess everyone’s individual circumstances.
The fees we charge for financial advice is only a fraction of the value we derive for our clients, meaning our clients are always better off after seeing us. Rarely do we encounter a new client invested appropriately for their needs, with adequate risk protection, structuring and estate planning provisions in place. Even small tweaks to a financial plan over a long period of time can result in drastically better outcomes for our clients which eclipses the fees of the financial advice. Additionally, you can opt-out of an ongoing fee arrangement at any time.
In our discovery meeting with you our advisers discuss the initial advice fee and the ongoing fees associated with our services.
After our initial phone call to discuss why you are seeking a financial adviser, we arrange a discovery meeting that outlines what is important to you, your current position, our areas of advice, our approach. We then present a Statement of Advice (SoA) to discuss your goals and our recommendations and go through the steps of how to proceed to the implementation stage. After signing the SoA, we discuss your questions, get you to sign the authority to proceed and complete any application forms before implementing the recommendations detailed in the SoA.
One thing to consider is the interest rate on your home loan in comparison to the rate of return on your super fund. Before making a decision, it’s also important to weigh up your stage in life, particularly your age and your appetite for risk. Whatever strategy you choose you’ll need to regularly review your options if you’re making regular voluntary super contributions or extra mortgage repayments. As bank interest rates move and markets fluctuate, the strategy you choose today may be different from the one that is right for you in the future
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