What is Credit Life Insurance?
Credit Life Insurance is an extra charge on a loan or Credit Card, or furniture or clothing account and the idea of credit life is that if you are retrenched or if you die, or if you have a permanent or temporary disability, then they will pay.
There are different rules for each event, and obviously, if you die, then they pay out the full amount, and what they do is settle the outstanding balance on your account. This is great because you don’t leave your family with debt in your estate, and depending how much debt you have, this can eat up a lot of money that would have been left for your spouse or kids.
The other times that they pay out are if you are retrenched or you have a permanent or temporary disability and then there are different rules and policy conditions that determine how long they will pay. On retrenchment most Credit Life will pay for between 6 months and a year, and with a disability, it is more complicated because it depends on the type of disability, will you work again, how long will it take etc.
Some Credit Life is compulsory, and on loans, you have to have credit life, so when you apply for the loan, they often don’t tell you that they are putting credit life on the loan and you pay extra every month as part of your monthly premium for the credit life. And on other accounts, you can choose whether you want credit life or not.
You don’t have to take the Credit Life that they are offering you at the loan place. If you for whatever reason want to organise your credit life yourself, then the law says that you can do that, but nobody does it, because most of the time, you don’t even know that you are also buying credit life when you open the account or take the loan.
Where do you get Credit Life Insurance?
No-one can tell you where to get credit life. I have never heard an advert on the radio for credit life. I have heard thousands for car insurance home insurance, medical Insurance, but never for credit life, but they are out there, and the more people that start asking to do their own credit life when they apply for a loan, the more companies will want you to find them.
In Debt Review we deal with a lot of Credit Life, because many people are retrenched these days, and Credit Life is a good thing. We have a number of clients who are under debt review and have been retrenched and their accounts are paid every month by the Credit Life.
But we also see the bad things that happen in the industry and believe me there are companies out there that are ripping you off on Credit Life. Some of the furniture places are making a lot of money overcharging for Credit Life, and giving Credit Life to people who can’t claim for it.
There was a court case where the credit regulator took a furniture place to court over them giving credit life to people over 65, and they would never have paid that out. And a few of the loans places are really ripping people off. I have a client who has 2 loans, one is R90 000 and the other is R110 000. On the R90 000 loan, he is paying R930 per month and on the R110k loan, he is paying R380 per month, so you can see, the risk is the same for both loans because it is the same person.
My message here is.: when you apply for a new account, ask the person how much the Credit Life is and ask them to tell you how much per thousand Rand. The maximum number I normally work on is about R4 per thousand Rand, so if you borrow R100k then you shouldn’t pay more than about R400 per month credit life, and that is the maximum. There are companies who supply Credit Life at around R3 per thousand Rand borrowed.
Another problem is that many companies won’t let you change after you have signed, so if you are desperate for a loan and you sign and you don’t ask about the Credit Life, and you discover afterwards that you are paying R10 per thousand Rand for your Credit Life, you will probably end up paying that extra amount for the full term of the loan, which could be up to 5 or 6 years on a big loan and over a long period, that is a lot of money you are wasting.
Always check how much your Credit Life is when you open a new loan
Always ask how much your credit life is before you sign the documents, and if it is more than about R4 per thousand Rand then ask if you can organize your own credit life, or get a loan from somewhere else if they are difficult.