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Keeping you and your family safe over summer

When summer kicks off in New Zealand, so does the DIY and outdoor life that is an ingrained part of Kiwi culture.

Having the right levels of health insurance, income insurance and life insurance is an important part of caring for yourself and your family, but unlike a new bike or paddleboard they are a purchase you hope not to use. This means whatever your holiday plans, it is important to be aware of what you can do to keep you and your family safe.

Keeping children safe over summer

Keeping children safe is an obvious priority for parents all year round, but summer comes with unique hazards.

  • Who is watching the kids? When you have a large group of friends and family together it can be so easy to assume someone else is watching the children. The simple act of communicating “I’m popping inside now, so you are in charge of watching the children,” can literally be a lifesaver.
  • Driveways. All parents know that driveways are a major hazard for children. With summer guests, and groups of families and friends congregating at the bach there is a lot more coming and going. There can also be different people looking after the children (including some who may have forgotten just how fast a toddler can move), and time spent in different houses without the safe set-up and routines of home. If you are visiting a house with children, or someone is visiting you with theirs, make sure you know where everyone is before any car moves.
  • Water. Swimming in the pool, a lake, a river, or the sea is such an integral part of summer for kiwi kids, and going out on a boat is a real treat. Remember to supervise children at all times, know the nature of the water before you enter (how deep it is, how strong the current is and so on) and know your child’s limits. Watersafe has some great tips for any water activity.

Avoiding food poisoning

Summer brings warm, moist conditions – the ideal environment for pathogens to multiply quickly and cause food poisoning. This means you need to take special care when preparing, cooking, and storing food. Follow the clean, cook, cover and chill rules; and take extra care, especially when barbecuing.  

The Ministry for Primary Industries have some great tips for avoiding food poisoning.

Avoiding exercise injuries

Whether the panic of impending swimsuit season after a cosy winter of inactivity, or a New Year’s resolution to get fit, summer finds plenty of people leaping unprepared into a new exercise regimen.

While improving your fitness is a great idea for your long-term health, to avoid injury it pays to be sensible about how you start– this also increases your chances of meeting your goals.

  • If you have any pre-existing health conditions or injuries, you need to speak to your GP or physio before you start a new exercise programme
  • Start gradually; don’t try and make your first run in five years 10 kilometres. Starting slowly not only reduces your chance of injury, but increases the likelihood you’ll keep at it
  • Warm up. This is a key feature of staying injury free. ACC Sportsmart has some good warmups to get you started
  • To help you stay on track, make a programme, stick to it and mix it up with different exercises

Safe DIY

New Zealanders love to indulge in a bit of home improvement around the house or the bach during the summer holidays. And ACC hears a lot about it when things don’t go quite according to plan.

Before you crack into a new project check out ACC’s prevention tips here.

Safer Road trips

For lots of people summer means more time travelling on roads that are less familiar. Time with the in-laws isn’t the worst hazard of a summer road trip. AA has four key tips on their website for safe driving.

Most pertinent to summer road trips are minimising distractions, which means putting some thought into keeping kids entertained and fed, and being aware of your own tiredness. This takes planning; when you will travel, who will drive and when you will take breaks.

Share the load and be aware of when you are starting to struggle. There is no harm in stopping for an impromptu ice cream or brief walk on the beach, to wake yourself up and give your passengers a break too.

Remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap and have a wonderful – and safe – summer. If you want to make sure your insurance is up to date, or need to make a claim do get in touch.   

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What is ACC Cover Plus? And ACC Cover Plus Extra?

In New Zealand we are lucky to have ACC, which provides us all with no-fault comprehensive injury cover no matter where you are when you are injured.

ACC covers most physical injuries if they are caused by an accident, a condition that comes on gradually because of your work, medical treatment or sexual assault or abuse. ACC provides a definition of a physical injury on their website here.

However, once you move into the self-employed space things can get a little trickier and that is where ACC Cover Plus and ACC Cover Plus Extra come in to play.

ACC Cover Plus

ACC Cover Plus is basically the self-employed version of ACC cover. The rate of cover provided, what is covered and the services available are all the same as ACC. What changes is how you pay your levy and how your cover for lost earnings is decided.

When you are an employee your ACC levy is automatically deducted from your income, however when you are self-employed you are invoiced each year by ACC according to your previous years income and your industry. This means your ACC invoice can vary from year to year depending on your income or if you change industries.

When you are an employee and you lose your income due to an injury there is a very clear line as to what that lost income would be – your wages or salary. Self-employed incomes can fluctuate dramatically from month to month or year to year and this can cause some challenges and uncertainty when trying to get covered by ACC.

New Zealanders are lucky to have access to ACC, and with ACC Cover Plus even as a self-employed person you are covered. However there are two areas that ACC Cover Plus can be challenging. The first is with the levy based on the previous financial year’s income there is uncertainty each year as to what it will be. Secondly the uncertainty around cover with a fluctuating income can leave self-employed people more vulnerable.

This is where ACC Cover Plus Extra comes in.

ACC Cover Plus Extra

With ACC Cover Plus Extra you agree with ACC on a level of cover for lost earnings, to suit your personal circumstances. This means if you make a claim there is no need to prove your earnings, as the weekly compensation has already been agreed. It also means you know what your ACC levy will be each year which makes financial planning smoother.

Moving on to ACC Cover Plus Extra puts you back in control of your premiums, puts you in control of what you get paid at claim time and gives you peace of mind regarding what you will get paid.

Is there a better way of managing risk for the self-employed?

ACC is an expensive type of cover when compared with private insurance. There are some gaps with regards to illness and degeneration, and moving onto ACC Cover Plus Extra is the first step to make things easier.

We then tailor your ACC cover so it is right for you. This may be by reducing the cover and taking on income protection and mortgage protection to top it up, or we could recommend you increase it.

There are three main benefits to taking this approach.

  1. ACC only covers accidents – taking this approach means you will also be covered in case of illness, and if ACC declines to cover your injury on the basis of degeneration.
  2. More cover for less – you can save money on premiums.
  3. Peace of mind – you know how much cover you have, and you know that you are covered regardless of the circumstances of your lost income.

We have had clients who have income protection in place, but are also paying the default ACC Cover Plus Levy – essentially doubling up and paying twice. You can only claim on one of these so you shouldn’t be paying for both of them.

It is important to remember that reducing ACC Cover Plus Extra also reduces the entitlement for accidental death cover. This is where talking to one of our advisers is important so they can advise you of all the implications and how to best cover yourself.

Try our five question ACC survey here and receive your FREE risk management report.

If you are ready to review your ACC levy and make sure you have the most comprehensive cover in place, get in touch with one of our team.

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