It's easy to think once you've taken out an insurance policy, you're sorted for life. But since our goals and circumstances change over time, our insurance and finances need to adapt as well. 

Whenever you take one of those big steps in life – getting married, buying or selling a house, having kids or helping your kids move out of home – that's a great time to review your policies and savings to make sure they're protecting you, and the people and things that matter most to you. 

When your living situation changes

Whether you're moving out of your parents' place for the first time, shifting flats, moving overseas, or buying and selling a house – if you're changing your home, you should probably think about your insurance as well. 

If you're buying a house, house insurance is a must-have. Very few houses are exactly alike so policies take account of the land you house is built on, how big your place is, how many rooms it has, its age and the quality of construction. Your insurer will be able to talk you through exactly what sort of information you need to provide, and your policy will take account of the specific features of your property. 

In addition to insuring the house itself, it's also important to think about insuring your contents, and whether your insurance protects your belongings while you're moving from one house to the next. 

If you're flatting or renting, or if you're a student living in university accommodation, you need to be insured too. There are tailored contents insurance policies for renters, including some that cover not just your own possessions but also accidental damage to the place you're living. 

Woman unpacking boxes in her new apartment

When your family circumstances change

Any change to your family or your relationships should prompt you to think about whether your finances are set up the way you want them to be. This includes starting a new relationship, moving in with a partner, getting married, going through a separation or divorce, or having kids.

You might need to take someone off or add them onto a policy. For example, if the kids are moving out of home, you could take them off your car insurance which might result in lower premiums. If you have a life insurance policy, you may also need to think about who the beneficiaries of your policy should be. 

Parents with new baby sitting on the edge of a bed with pet cat in front

When your health changes

If you or your partner get sick or have to stop working, this will probably trigger a change in your financial setup. Changes in health will have implications for your life insurance, and might require you to change the amount of cover you have, or whether you have the right type of cover in place. On the flip side, improving your health by quitting smoking or leaving a higher-risk job might also help you get a better rate on health insurance or life insurance. 

When your assets or income changes

A change to your employment status or income is another reason to reconsider your cover. If you're making the leap to self-employment or contracting, income protection insurance might become a priority. Likewise, a bonus or pay increase might be a chance to save more or contribute more to your KiwiSaver fund. And an overall increase in household income could mean you need extra cover to keep up with expenses if you weren't able to keep working. 

You should also make sure that your most valuable assets are protected properly. If you've renovated your house, it's a good idea to talk to your insurer, especially if you have 'agreed value' insurance. This kind of insurance provides cover up to a sum that you agree upon with your insurer, but renovations might mean your home would cost more to replace if it was damaged or destroyed. 

Agreed value insurance will only pay the insured amount, even if the actual cost of rebuilding your home turns out to be more, so it's important that you get this number right. Alternatively, you might want to consider an option like MAS's "area replacement" cover, which will cover you for the cost of rebuilding your house to the same size and finish, regardless of the cost. 

If you've added extra security measures, like home alarm systems, let your insurer know too – this could make you eligible for a lower home and contents insurance premium. Likewise, if you've recently bought or been given valuable items like jewellery, electronics, art or antiques, make sure these are covered by your contents insurance. 

Couple playing with house model plans

When your goals change

If your money or life goals change, it's also worth thinking about your KiwiSaver fund. KiwiSaver funds vary in terms of their risk profile, ranging from aggressive funds that offer potentially higher returns but come with higher risk to more conservative funds that sit at the other end of the risk-return spectrum. 

If you're planning on retiring or making a first home withdrawal in the short term, you might want to be in a lower-risk fund to help protect your balance if the market slumps. And likewise, if you're not planning on withdrawing your KiwiSaver investment for decades, you might choose a higher-risk fund (like a growth or aggressive fund) and ride out any market fluctuations for a potentially higher balance.

MAS offers a free financial review for Members to make sure their finances suit their life stage and goals. Call 0800 800 627 to talk to your adviser.

  • Share

You might also like
Piggy bank with coins

Budgeting 101: tips everyone should know

A good budget and understanding of your own financial situation will give you the tools to help make things a little easier financially.

Elderly couple writing a will - listing

Why writing your will matters and how to do it

This guide explains why writing a will is important, how to write a will in New Zealand, what to consider when writing a will and how a will can be challenged.


Life in plastic: what you need to know about credit cards

There are benefits to using a credit card, they can help you build a positive credit score and you can often receive perks such as Airpoints or other cash rewards. But when abused, they can put you deep into a financial hole.