Watch the Walking Dead or read the fine print?
Fans are waiting with baited breath to watch the first episode of the new season of The Walking Dead on Monday (23 October). It’s sure to be 55 minutes of unbridled-zombie joy.
Something else that lasts on average 55 minutes – but isn’t as fun as watching your favourite TV show – is reading the T&Cs of a standard insurance or credit card policy. People know it’s the small print, but most don’t realise how small.
We’ve crunched the numbers to work out how long on average it would take people to read a range of different insurance policies, credit card documents and energy plan fact sheets. Results show that it takes a frighteningly long time, which explains why most people just don’t bother and then risk being out of pocket if they go to make a claim.
For example, when purchasing home & contents insurance – which is something that protects the most valuable asset you own – consumers have to wade through 79 pages of information in order to fully understand what is and isn’t covered.
We’ve created an infographic that depicts how long reading T&Cs properly would take the average person, and to put this in perspective, we’ve looked at what you could do in the equivalent time. Here are a couple of examples:
- Travel insurance policies take 79 minutes to read: equivalent to watching a rugby match
- Credit card T&Cs take 59 minutes to read: equivalent to doing a load of washing
The infographic is supported by our latest survey findings, taken from a nationally representative panel of 1155 adult Australians, reveal that:
- 56 per cent of Aussies skim through T&Cs at best
- 20 per cent don’t bother to look at them at all
- 54 per cent said they spend less than five minutes reading through the fine print
- 3 per cent said they spend a full half-hour reading docs cover-to-cover before signing
- 86 per cent said they would be more likely to read through the T&Cs in full if they were shorter and easier to understand
Abigail Koch, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au says, “The majority of Australians are putting themselves in serious financial danger by failing to fully understand what they’re signing up to.
“Expecting customers to spend more than an hour in some cases reading through the fine print of a policy is unrealistic. It’s not surprising that many people, even those the best intentions, give up or are put-off by the length of the fine print.
“T&Cs are often not only lengthy, but can also be full of industry jargon making them even more difficult for the average Australian to understand.
“Comparethemarket.com.au supports moves made by the Senate Economics References Committee to introduce a standardised definition of key terms within general insurance, and to look at improving the effectiveness of Product Disclosure Statements overall for the benefit of consumers.”