If you’ve just purchased your dream car or if you’re thinking about making a significant investment in a luxury vehicle that will look good and keep your family safe –it’s also important to consider how you can keep your car safe!
Buying insurance for a luxury vehicle can be very different to buying insurance for a standard car. A luxury vehicle can be anything from a prestige car (everything from Alfa Romeo to Lotus to Rolls Royce and Mercedes) to an exotic car (for example, a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maybach and Aston Martin) or a classic, vintage or custom built car. Here are a few things to consider:
Do I have the right type of car insurance?
In Victoria, Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is included in your vehicle registration fee. It covers any personal injuries caused due to an accident involving your vehicle, but doesn’t protect your car or damage to property of a third party. Other the CTP, there are 3 types of car insurance available:
Can I choose my own repairer?
This question is particularly important for luxury and exotic cars. You wouldn’t send your family to just any doctor, so why would your prestige vehicle be any different? Many standard insurance policies won’t let you choose your own repairer when you need to make a claim, or they may force you to choose from a panel. After making a big investment into your dream car, you need to have an insurance policy where you can choose a specialist repairer who has the expertise to repair your vehicle, and who has the contacts to source rare parts, particularly if your car is unique or vintage. A specialist repairer will also be able to restore your car to its luxurious condition, and you’ll know that the repair has been done to the highest standard following the manufacturer’s specifications.
How can I reduce my insurance premium?
It’s not necessarily a good idea to choose the cheapest car insurance. After all, the price of being underinsured may end up costing you a lot more than what you saved on the policy! Car insurance is actually one that will allow you to strike a balance between your coverage needs and your budget. Insuring luxury cars can be a bit more expensive than insuring a standard car, because the claims tend to be more expensive and it costs a lot more to replace a luxury vehicle when compared to a standard car! However, there are ways that might save you money, for example:
When it comes to buying insurance, you have two choices: buy it online or organise it through a broker. There is much choice available online, however without the right advice; you could be buying the wrong insurance. At best, it might be a waste of money. At worst, you can be significantly out of pocket when it comes time to make a claim.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG – ANDY’S STORY:
Andy* is a new migrant in Australia. He purchased a convenience store in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Although he has decades of business experience in China, it is his first time running his own business. Andy took a long time in comparing different business insurance policies online, and he felt confident in the choice that he made.
In July, heavy rain caused significant water damage to the store’s floor. His landlord refused to do anything to help him. Andy wasn’t able open the convenience store for 3 weeks whilst he arranged for the floor to be made safe and then fixed. Andy called his insurance company, and it felt to him like he could never reach a person to speak to about his insurance claim, and he spent a lot of time on hold.
It turned out Andy didn’t insure for loss of business income, which meant that he had to continue paying rent and salaries although he had no income from sales. Insurance could have helped him cover some of these losses but Andy wasn’t aware that he could purchase this type of insurance.
He eventually got the insurance company to pay for the repairs to the floor, but it took almost four months to finally receive his money, and it didn’t even cover half of the repair costs because the insurance company said that his repairer was too expensive. Andy was incredibly stressed from dealing with the insurance company and the repairer while at the same time trying to operate his business.
Two months later, Andy went to a migrants’ community activity. He made friend with other new migrants who also who operate small businesses. They, too, had bad luck during the year, and had to make a claim on their insurance policy. However, they were pleasantly surprised at how easy the experience was. Poor Andy was shocked!
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED – MARK’S STORY:
Andy’s friend, Mark*, purchased a business located in a local shopping mall. Mark’s shop sold cigarettes and magazines. When he purchased his business, his migration agent recommended that he use an insurance broker. As Mark was unfamiliar with running a business in Australia, he decided it couldn’t hurt to follow his migration agent’s advice.
Mark spoke to the insurance broker, and they chatted about his business for about twenty minutes. The insurance broker explained him what could go wrong for his business and told him that there were a lot of burglaries targeting tobacco shops. He recommended that Mark install a back-to-base alarm system. Mark hadn’t heard of this type of alarm system before, but he decided to look into it. They also discussed how much insurance Mark should buy. The insurance broker told Mark that cigarettes are expensive, and he should insure his stock for more money.
His insurance broker came back to him the next day with several options for insurance, all at different prices. Mark asked lots of questions about the different between the insurance products, and tried to understand as much as possible about what the insurance was for. There were many insurance terms that Mark didn’t understand, but his broker was patient in explaining them to him. At the end of the process, Mark felt confident of the choice that he made when buying insurance.
Mark’s shop was also affected by the heavy rains in July. The gutter overflowed, and the water started leaking into the shop. About $8,000 of Mark’s cigarettes were damaged by the water. The first thing Mark did was call his insurance broker. His insurance broker told him straight away not to worry, as the loss would be covered by his insurance.
The next day, a representative from the insurance company came to visit Mark to inspect the damage. Mark didn’t feel confident in his English, but his insurance broker assured him that he had already explained the whole situation to the insurance company. The visit went smoothly, and his broker called him the next day to tell Mark that everything was under control. He told Mark that he could expect his insurance company to pay the claim within the next three weeks.
Mark laughed as he told Andy this story, saying that it was lucky that the insurance broker had done all the hard work for him!
DID MARK PAY MORE FOR HIS INSURANCE?
Buying insurance through a broker can be cheaper than buying it online. This is because brokers have negotiating power with different insurers. Mark ended up with the best value for money insurance policy, as well as professional advice on risk management. On top of that, Mark didn’t feel stressed during the claim as he knew his insurance broker was there to look after him.
Don’t gamble on your livelihood. If cost, convenience, and peace of mind is important to you, it is worth visiting an insurance broker for your home and business insurance.
* Names have been changed
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (15 January 2015)
We all know that volunteering is good for your health, improves your mood and lowers your stress levels. In fact, sharing and helping out in the community can become an essential part of your social and career success, whether you are the director of a charity organisation, spend time with the elderly in nursing homes, or help organise community events. For the overseas Chinese population, especially for new migrants, it’s vital to participate and contribute to building strong Chinese communities in Australia.
As valued as it is to give your time to charity, there are risks to consider if you’re working or volunteering in an association or charity such as:
Associations and charities can be subject to lawsuits and losses in the same way that businesses are, and so it’s important for members and volunteers, particularly those who on boards or committees of associations, to consider the below questions:
1.CAN YOU AFFORD THE UNEXPECTED AND EXPENSIVE?
Your organisation’s purpose is to do good. However, unexpected things can always happen and someone, or something, might be damaged or hurt during the organisation’s activities. Sometimes, even if the organisation hasn’t done anything wrong, it can still suffer from expensive legal fees. Accidents, which can lead to insurance claims, can be as simple as the following:
Other incidents could be even more complex. Here are some real life examples:
2.WHAT ABOUT FRAUD?
Unfortunately, dishonesty and fraud is a fact of life. Charities and associations are increasingly at risk of fraud. If you’re a board or committee member, you run an additional risk of being accused of fraud, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Here are some real life examples:
3.ARE VOLUNTEERS AND EMPLOYEES PROPERLY PROTECTED?
This is an important question to ask, regardless of whether you’re the volunteer or if you are organising a group of volunteers to help out in your association’s activities. Here are a few things to consider:
Not-for-profit organizations form an invaluable part of our society and every participant takes pride in offering to the community. Like a business, they must also prepare for challenging events, know what risks they face and reduce the likelihood of potentially costly ‘surprises’. Consult a professional insurance broker to find out the optimal solution for your organization and make the most out of the organization budget.
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (18 December 2015)
Smart investors often add property to their investment portfolio. Lower volatility, potential tax benefits and control over assets have made property investments attractive for those seeking lucrative capital growth. In Australia, property values are growing up to 7% per annum and purchasing intent in the real estate marketplace is hitting a historical high.
As passionate investors dream of solid returns flooding in, crucial things that may go wrong are sometimes ignored as the trends heat up. Unexpected events such as fire or explosion, rental default, malicious and intentional damage by both tenants and criminals may result in expensive loss. When considering property investments that guarantee safe capital return, several factors can help safeguard it:
1. Reduce your risk by picking the right location
Damage from natural disasters, such as bush fires during scorchingly dry Australian summers, high winds and storm surge, are likely to occur if your property is located besides reserves, bushlands, creeks, storm drains and lakes. Statistics show that extreme weather events, for example, storms and hail, have resulted in damage to 30,000 properties in the past three years. Bushfires destroyed up to 2029 properties in 2009, leaving tragic damage with thousands of dollars in repair costs.
It’s not only nature that you need to consider – don’t forget the human factor when choosing the location of your new property investment. Unsafe suburbs with a higher crime rate nad drug use may lead to a high incidence of theft and household burglaries. This will make your property unattractive to potential tenants, and also impact the value of your property. Safety and liveability always matter, even if you don’t live in the property yourself.
2. Safeguard your property
An ideal location doesn’t always prevent risks your property. Common problems, such as water damage from storms, can be minimised if you know how to protect your property. Heavy rain can impact any location, and it’s wise to check the following items during your house inspection:
3. Choose your tenant wisely
It is helpful to engage a professional property manager who will help you choose the right tenant and be proactive in the maintenance of your property. Bad tenants can cause trouble and loss, for example they may default on rent payments, deny you access to the property or vacate without notice. They may damage the property, leaving you with massive clean-up and repair bills.
4. Protect your investment
Don’t wait for something to happen before organizing the insurance for your investment property – it will be too late. Extreme accidents may arrive when you’re unaware and even the best tenant could accidentally damage a property or lose their job and be unable to pay rent. A tailored landlord insurance policy is crucial for owners to cover loss and save efforts. The following insurance can be considered to safeguard your investment property:
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (04 December 2015)
Your livelihood up in flames…
What would you do if you arrived at work one day, and your office – or your shop, factory, or warehouse – had been razed to the ground? Could you recover from the loss? Most businesses can’t, it’s often the case that many businesses affected by a major fire either never recover or close within two years of reopening. Even if the property can be rebuilt, you might lose market share and important customers while your business recovers, you could lose key staff while the business is unable to operate, or it could take a long time to obtain new permits or licenses.
Arson costs Australia over $1.6 billion a year. Arson can be motivated by many different things, such as revenge, juvenile boredom, terrorism, psychiatric problems, and business rivalry. Although there will always be things that cannot be predicted and are outside of your control, there are very effective security measures that you can implement to reduce the chance that your business is a target for arsonists.
Three top tips to prevent arson
TIP ONE: Arson often occurs at night, and improved security measures are most effective in preventing arson. The below recommendations can also reduce the cost of your yearly insurance premium:
TIP THREE: Conduct your business activities with care! Screen potential employees; carefully choose maintenance personnel who have unsupervised access to the business property, especially after normal working hours.
Insurance should undoubtedly also be part of every business’ risk management plan. Here’s a true story of how insurance helped one Melbourne business owner get back on his feet:
The business is a small professional services firm. The owner arrived on a winter’s morning to find his office completed gutted by fire. He contacted Great Wall Insurance Services immediately. Within day, a representative from the insurance company was on-site to inspect the damage. The insurance company organised an interim payment of $10,000 to help the business owner purchase things like printers, phone line and postal divisions, and computers, so that he could resume business as soon as possible. The insurance company also paid for the business to relocate to a nearby location while the office was being demolished and rebuilt. It took over three months before the business could move back into the office, but they were able to minimise losses by relocating systems and staff in the interim. All in all, the business’s insurance company assisted them to the value of more than $150,000 to help them get back on their feet.
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (11 November 2015)
Alison is a self-made success. Originally from Hong Kong, she arrived in Australia in the late 80’s with two young children, little English, and no building experience to speak of. The thriving shop fitting business that she has built up over the past 23 years is testament to her determination and astonishing work ethic.
Alison’s business, Crown Shopfitters, supplies and installs kitchen and shop fittings in retail and department stores, domestic and commercial kitchens, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. From humble beginnings installing kitchenettes in small apartments, Alison proudly tells us that she can now walk through every major shopping centre in Melbourne and be able to point out a shop, café, or stall that was installed by her business.
Her story isn’t without challenges – in a male dominated industry, Alison had to prove herself over and over again dealing and negotiating with tradesmen, contractors and supplies to make sure that her clients receive the very best product.
“There aren’t that many Chinese women in the construction industry in Australia!” Alison laughs. “It was hard to be taken seriously at first”.
By the looks of things, Alison no longer has any problems being taken seriously. With her daughters now both grown up (one an architect, and other an engineer), she’s ready to tackle her next big challenge – expanding her business interstate.
Crown Shopfitters and Great Wall Insurance Services
Great Wall has been assisting Crown Shopfitters with their insurance since the mid 1990’s. If you own a similar business (shop fitting manufacturing and installation, cabinet making, kitchen manufacturing and installations), you should consider the following types of insurance:
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (30 October 2015)
WILL YOUR INSURANCE COVER THE LOSS FROM PROPERTY BURGLED THIS JANUARY?
As we reach the end of a year of hard work, we’re all looking forward to summer holidays… all except Melbourne’s thieves, who are looking forward to empty homes and easy money.
For the past few years, January has been the worst month for home break-ins. The most burgled areas in Melbourne are in the west and north of the city, for example, Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights, Hoppers Crossing, Broadmeadows and Preston. Wealthier suburbs in Melbourne’s inner east are also targets for thieves, for example, there were 9 burglaries and 2 attempted burglaries in just one night this October, in Camberwell, Hawthorn, Kew and Ashburton. There are a few steps you can take to improve home security to reduce the risk of becoming the target of crime. However, it’s also important to make sure that you have the correct insurance in case you are unlucky.
Home security measures
The following tips can help you make your home more secure:
Preventing crime during the holiday season
If you are going overseas and leaving your home vacant, be careful with your personal information online, for example, posting your holiday plans on Facebook and Wechat means that you are broadcasting that your home will be vacant. You should also make it look like someone is home. For example, get your neighbours to collect the mail, bring in the bins, close the curtains and hang some old clothes on the line.
Insurance for your home
It’s impossible to prevent all crime, so insurance is critical in protecting your valuables. Thieves will take items like designer bags, cash, jewellery and electronics, and this can quickly add up – in 10% of burglaries, the victim will lose more than $50,000 worth of goods. Home insurance is readily available online, but you must make sure you get the right type of insurance for your home. There are a few things to be careful of:
English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (17 October 2015)
The property market in Melbourne is red-hot, with property developers competing for sites in desirable suburbs like Glen Waverley, Mt. Waverley, Ashburton and Box Hill. Chinese property developers are doing good business by subdividing and building townhouses and apartments in these blue-chip suburbs. A word of warning, however, to those who are in this lucrative business – a great many unexpected events might happen, leaving you millions of dollars out of pocket, or worse, even bankrupt.
For example, a property developer in Mt. Waverley is now footing the bill to repair the damage caused by a landslip in a 20 metre-deep construction pit at his building side on Highbury Road. He also has had to pay for the hotel accommodation costs for a dozen residents evacuated from the two townhouses on the edge of the pit. In cases like this, insurance is absolutely critical. This is a timely reminder to all in the property development business that insurance can’t be ignored.
What can go wrong
There are several key risks that you need to consider if you are developing a property, where it’s two townhouses or a large block of apartments.
Firstly, you must insure and protect the site that you have purchased. It could be some time before your permits are approved by the council and you can start to demolish the site. Even if you’re planning to bulldoze the site, you must at least buy public liability insurance, or you could be sued.
Next, once you start construction, you must make sure that you or your builder has the right insurance policy. Many things can go wrong on site – your property could be damaged by water from severe storm or you could be a victim of arson or vandalism. Quite commonly, expensive items like hot water systems or even kitchen appliances and cabinets, can be stolen from an unoccupied site. Further, the excavation or construction could damage nearby houses, for example, weaken the support of a neighbouring building, or cause a landslip. In one case, a crane was not properly set up, and caused disastrous damage when it toppled over. All of these losses can be prevented with the right insurance. You also must make sure that the businesses you work with have their insurance in place. For example, your architects, engineers, and surveyors all must have professional indemnity insurance. Depending on how insurance in arranged, your builder and tradespeople may need separate insurance.
As a property developer, you may also need to consider the safety standards at the site. WorkCover insurance is essential, and you also have to make sure you provide your workers with a safe working environment.
Finally, once your new development is complete, don’t forget to insure the finished product. How you do this will depend on what you are planning to do with it, for example, if you are planning to sell it, manage it as a body corporate, or let it out. If your company also performs real estate activities, for example, selling and renting properties, you must also consider real estate public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
Suggestions to Chinese property developers
Insurance for a property developer isn’t straightforward and simple. To make sure that you are properly protected and that you won’t be up for potentially millions of dollars, insurance is absolutely worth paying for and getting right. Get professional insurance advice, consult an insurance broker, in the same way that you seek professional advice from architects, engineers, and electricians.