In the concluding chapter of our look at the perils of searching for an insurance quote online, we come to that most feared part of any contract or agreement: the small print. In previous articles we’ve looked at how most people race through online forms, ticking boxes without thinking about whether they’ve given the correct answer or not. We gave some examples about how this practice can come back and bite you further down the line. Nowhere is this more the case than with the small print, which many of us don’t read at all, even when we’re signing a binding agreement.
Don’t be tempted
The temptation to ignore the small print is especially great when filling in a form online. Often you have to make a special effort to even see it. How often have we all ticked the box saying that we’ve read and understood the terms and conditions in order to proceed, when we haven’t even looked at the terms and conditions?
It’s also tempting to just focus on the overall price of an insurance policy without stopping to weigh up the actual costs should you need to make a claim. Usually you get what you pay for, and an attractively cheap policy may be cutting corners or getting its money back from you in some other way.
The real cost
One aspect you should consider with any policy is the excess. This is the amount you have to pay in the event of a claim and it can vary from one insurer to the next. For example, if you claim for £500 worth of damage to your home and your home insurance policy has an excess of £100, you will only receive £400 from your insurer. Another insurer might have an excess of £200, so even if that policy is cheaper it could work out more expensive for you when it comes to a claim.
The small print can also reveal that you are only covered up to a certain amount – for instance, property damage to a maximum of £10,000 – when realistically you need to be covered for much more. There may also be unexpected gaps or exceptions in your cover that you won’t know about until you try to claim. You might find that your claim for a stolen laptop is invalid because you took it to a café with you, assuming it was still covered.
The lesson to be learned is always read the small print. It’s here that you find out what you’re really getting for your money.