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The valuable insurance extras you could be missing out on

Written by: Mark Dennison
If you have a life or health insurance policy, be sure to check the terms in case it offers valuable extras which could give you a second diagnosis, added benefits for family or rewards.

Life and health insurance cover such as private medical insurance (PMI) and income protection (IP) are often considered a luxury and an expensive addition to an individual’s and family’s household budget.

However, many of these policies come with extra benefits, which can be extremely valuable. Many customers are just not aware that these extra benefits exist or that they have them, or they have simply forgotten about them.

Customers with protection insurance in place should not only be aware of the main terms of the cover they have in case the need to claim but also the additional extra benefits offered and potentially available to them and their families to use. A great time to check is at a policy’s annual review date, rather than trying to grapple with all the information and detail at the time of an emergency.

For example, a client of British Friendly who recently claimed on an income protection policy was able to replace his salary when he was unable to work after being diagnosed with cancer and, thanks to the free second opinion service that he had forgotten was also available with the plan, he was able to find a consultant who could perform life-extending surgery.

There are many others. Perhaps best known are Vitality’s customer benefits where members receive discounts such as half price gym membership and rewards like free coffees at Starbucks and cinema tickets.

So, here are a selection of the possible free services customers could have in place with their health or life insurance cover.

Best Doctors is a second medical opinion service available to life insurance customers of AIG and Aviva who have bought a protection policy through a broker.

Bereavement Benefit is offered by very few insurers but may be included with income protection cover where a lump sum is paid to help with the financial pressures of a partner or family member dying.

Access to several counselling sessions are often available at no extra cost. Insurers such as Royal London and financial advisers like LifeSearch offer access to expert counselling for free through the Red Arc service.

Critical illness cover for children is often available free of charge which will pay out a lump sum if a child in the family is diagnosed with what is known as a ‘dread disease’ such as cancer, heart attack or a stoke.

Health MOTs give access to a comprehensive medical screening, usually at no extra cost, and are usually offered by insurers through a third party of medical specialists, such as Square Health.

Power of Attorney and Will Writing services are also available, with the online service offered by many providers to their customers and their immediate family, available at no extra cost.

Recovery Support Benefit may be included with an income protection policy and will pay a lump sum if the policyholder is still unable to work after six months.

Many providers now offer access to virtual GP sessions at no extra cost, which can be extremely helpful and reassuring if access to the normal GP is not possible or practical.

Many providers provide access to helpful links and tips on health issues and ways to achieve a healthier more balanced lifestyle. Vitality is generally considered to be the insurance leader in this area.

These are just a few examples of the possibly forgotten ‘extra’ benefits available. It really is worth checking what cover and services may be available with any life and health insurance cover that is in place. The financial adviser or broker who arranged the cover will be able to help or you can contact the provider directly or check their website.

Just don’t forget you have them as some of these services could be priceless.

Mark Dennison is principal at advisers LightBlue UK

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