Asked on 03 Jul 2018
Insurance: Buy Online or through an Agent
To answer your question, at the end of the day it will boil down to your own level of knowledge to construct a suitable financial financial plan for yourself and the time you're willing to spend to manage your own financial portfolio (as per what Tat Tian had mentioned).
To me, at the end of the day products are just a means to an end. While you may know what product you're looking for, it is still essential for you to identify the right level of coverage and also uncover the differences in the fine prints and total costs of the product itself.
To give you an example, while most insurance companies are providing for the same type of benefit for H&S insurance, there are some differences in the extent of benefit provided (for example 90 days vs 360 days pre- & post hospital benefits, moratorium underwriting vs full underwriting). Furthermore, the premium for H&S plans are ALL DIFFERENT across the insurance companies providing the same type of insurance.
Hence, there is a need to understand both the market and your own condition before you can make an informed decision - one that is based on facts rather than assumptions. While you ARE an expert in understanding your own condition, the question is are you an expert when it comes to understanding the market?
As such, the added cost of buying through an agent would make sense IF the agent adds value to your financial plan by providing you with the relevant resources and information you would need to make an informed decision. But lets face it, good agents - one that provide you with an objective information - are hard to find, a good financial advisor - one that provides for personalized financial planning services - are even harder to come by unless you belong to the high net worth market.
I think both Tat Tian and Daniel has given a very in-depth understanding to the perennial debate of DIY vs Agent.
This is entirely up to you. The same analogy follows:
Pharmacy: If you already know what you want (e.g buying Panadol, flu medicine), you don’t pay consultation fees
Doctor Clinic: If you have some complicated existing plans or complications, go to the doctor and pay consultation fees on top of the medicine cost
In the event you are ‘sick’ you would go to a doctor you know or recommended by someone close.
On that note, if you have a trusted agent from the past or family friend, that is highly valued.
You can find out more at this article here about some commonly asked questions about insurance: https://blog.seedly.sg/working-adults-4-frequently-asked-insurance-questions/
I think it really depends on how painful do you think it is to notify your agent, or doing the online claim yourself.
I do remember you have an AIA made accident card (or emergency contact number), which is bundled with the insurance. This are also the little things which you may wish to consider. The power-up value for the insurance, and also the different coverage (slight like TCM coverage, motorbiker coverage) which may or may not be the deciding factor for your insurance.
Please read the fine prints and compare them if you wish to buy it online.
The advantages of having an agent is that in the event of a claim
your agents can advice on things to state or avoid during the claim process
Process all your documents for you
provides advice on what do or avoid during the occurrence of the event
buying direct is cheaper but you need to know all the TnC very clearly and in the event that you need heavy assistance you only have the customer service officer