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Buy Insurance Like a Pro

Buying insurance is like eating our brussel sprouts: not our favorite thing to do but vitally important. We’ve peeked into the portfolios of two insiders to get a sense of the coverage would she buy for herself (not just what someone might try to sell us).


Ms. Lilian Ng, 47, senior executive financial planner, AXA Life Insurance

Mix and Match

“Go for customisable plans – they let you opt out of things you don’t really need. I do this for healthcare and motor insurance plans. For example, AXA’s Smartdrive lets you choose from seven core plans, whether you’re a busy executive who values convenience (like having roadside assistance or your repaired car delivered to your home) or a family looking for complete protection. I opted for a family plan with an add-on of a courtesy car should anything happen to my vehicle.”

Be Truthful

“Declare your health conditions and family medical history truthfully from the get-go. If you don’t, your entire policy could become null and void. For example, if you didn’t declare your previous incidences of asthma, you may not be able to make a claim for an unrelated illness. Pay attention to your health declaration and read the fine print.”

Her Portfolio:

  • Whole life insurance with critical illness cover
  • A cancer care policy
  • Investment-linked plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Medical plans (with guaranteed renewable hospitalisation, surgical and Eldershield supplements),
  • Personal accident plans
  • Home, motor and travel insurance.

She spends: 10 per cent of her income on term life policies and puts 30 per cent into savings.


Sherrie Wee, 46, independent financial adviser

“I got a female cancer rider because I have a family history of breast cancer. Many policies don’t cover cancer in stages 1 or 2, so make sure you get a rider that does – that way, you can get treatment early.”

Splurge on Critical Riders

“If you work in a job that requires physical fitness, consider a disability rider – this waives your insurance premiums in case you’re critically ill or disabled, and cannot work. You can vary your disability coverage based on your sum assured.”

Look at the Long-Term Cost

“Don’t be swayed by the low initial premiums that some life plans offer. It makes more financial sense to pay higher premiums for a shorter period of five or ten years (before letting the plan mature on its own) than to pay a low monthly premium for a long period, say, till you hit 55.”

Her Portfolio:

  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance (with an Eldershield supplement and additional riders for female cancers)
  • Personal accident plans
  • Home, motor and travel insurance

She spends: 20 per cent of her income on insurance and puts 30 per cent into savings.


By Anikita Varma, Her World, October 2014

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