Insurance Lifestyle The Frugal Handbook

TFH #33: Claim Your Benefits

Taking advantage of things that you are entitled to is a great way to save money and/or enjoy life at a cheaper price.

However, many people don’t utilise these benefits, and one reason for this is that they aren’t fully aware of the benefits that they are entitled to.

Whether you’re a student, a working adult, or a retiree, you’re probably entitled to some benefits you don’t even know about.

Personally, taking advantage of the benefits I’m entitled to from various platforms has saved me thousands of dollars over the years.

Today, I’ll share some of the most common sources of benefits that you might be entitled to.

Company Benefits

Companies tend to offer a wide variety of benefits for employees, but they also tend to be bound by terms & conditions.

Usually, these benefits and terms will be stated in some kind of employee handbook, which you can ask your Human Resources (HR) department for.

It’s also best to clarify any doubts with your HR department so that you won’t be met with unpleasant surprises while trying to take advantage of these benefits.

Medical Insurance

Many companies offer complimentary medical insurance, which covers medical expenses like visits to the doctor, dentist, or even specialists.

In the 2 years that I’ve been working, I haven’t paid for any medical fees – all expenses from doctor and dentist visits were fully claimed under my company.

Some companies even extend this coverage to your immediate family members like your spouse and children, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

The exact structure of medical insurance coverage varies from company to company, so it’s best to check in with your Human Resources (HR) department on the details.

Flexible Claims/Allowances

Many companies offer some type of flexible claims, where you will be reimbursed for certain categories of expenditures.

Some common categories include optical and health & wellness.

Some companies also offer allowances to employees, which is similar to claims, except that allowances tend to be given upfront without the need to submit a claim.

Common forms of allowances include mobile plans, transport, and food, especially if the company is located in relatively remote areas.

Product allowance is another common type of allowance which is usually offered for staff under retail companies.

This entitles the staff to receive free products up to a specified product value.

Such claims and allowances are usually given on a yearly, monthly, or quarterly basis, so make sure you fully expend them to make the most out of them!

Corporate/Staff Discounts

Very often, companies also offer corporate or staff discounts on certain brands.

This usually requires you to provide proof of employment at your company to enjoy the discount.

Almost all retail companies will also offer staff discounts on their brand of products and other brands within the group.

If you or your loved ones are planning to make purchases from any of these partnered brands, be sure to take advantage of your discounts.

Remember to check whether you have a limit on how much discount you can use!

Corporate Membership/Upskilling Allowance

Some companies have corporate membership accounts for selected services, and as an employee, you might be entitled to one.

This means you’ll be able to use said service for free whereas you would otherwise be required to have your own paid membership.

Your company might also have some program or allowance dedicated to employees for upskilling themselves.

If so, you might be able to attend courses and receive certifications at no cost or at a subsidised price.

So if your company offers this and you have an interest to do so, you might as well make use of it!

Card Benefits

If you use a credit card, chances are that it comes along with some benefits that you might not even know about, some of which can be pretty useful.

Debit cards may also come with some benefits, but they tend to be lacklustre compared to credit cards.

Lounge Visits

Most travel miles cards entitle you to a certain number of lounge visits per year.

Some examples include Citi PremierMiles, DBS Altitude, and HSBC TravelOne.

This means that when you travel, you are entitled to free access to certain airport lounges, where you can relax and enjoy food and drinks.

You’ll need to register for an account first using your relevant credit card, and the details can usually be found on the product page of the bank’s website.

Travel Insurance

Many credit cards also provide complimentary travel insurance to the card owner if the card is used to make full payment for the trip.

Some cards also extend this coverage to the card owner’s immediate family like spouse and children.

However, not every card’s travel insurance coverage is the same.

Most cards only provide a bare-bones package which covers death and permanent disability.

Citi PremierMiles is one of the few cards that offer a relatively holistic package that also covers travel inconveniences like flight delays, flight cancellations, etc.

You can find the details of such travel insurance coverage in the product terms of your credit card.

Complimentary Memberships

Some credit cards also come with complimentary memberships to other rewards programs.

These rewards programs might entitle you to discounts or exclusive benefits that you can take advantage of.

For example, if you have an HSBC credit card like the HSBC Revolution, you’re entitled to a complimentary membership of HSBC Entertainer.

This comes with 1-for-1 promotions and discount vouchers that you can use at selected food & beverage outlets.

However, many HSBC card owners don’t know this because you have to actively ask HSBC to provide you with the membership details before you can start using it.

Bank Promotions

Almost every bank has its own promotions with specific merchants.

For example, as an X bank cardholder, you are entitled to Y% off purchases at Z store.

Familiarising yourself with the promotions your credit card entitles you to can help you to save money if you ever do patronise these merchants.

Membership Benefits

If you’re a member of any rewards program, alumni, or organisation, check what the benefits are to see if there are any that may be useful to you.

For example, many guys signup for a SAFRA membership during National Service, which comes with exclusive promotions and discounts.

Some rewards programs also categorise members into different tiers depending on their loyalty spending amount.

Being aware of the benefits you are entitled to at each tier can help you to make the most out of your membership and squeeze out every last bit of value.

Student Benefits

If you’re still studying as a student, don’t worry – even being a student can entitle you to some benefits at the courtesy of your institution.

Note that the points mentioned here may be more applicable to university students, though there might be similar benefits in other educational institutes.

Student Insurance

Chances are that your school fees are helping to pay for this, but if you visit the on-campus clinic, you’ll probably be entitled to some kind of medical coverage.

The coverage might not be very extensive, but it’s something you might as well take advantage of if you need to see the doctor.

Do check your own institution’s insurance coverage policy for details.

Complimentary Software Access

Students may require access to many different types of software throughout the course of their studies for various modules.

The institution is almost always able to provide access to such software at no cost to students, which allows them to take full advantage of these software.

This ranges from basic applications like Microsoft Office to more professional applications like Mathematica or Adobe.

This can help students to build up experience and a portfolio of using such software, which can be useful when it comes to employment opportunities in the future.

Complimentary Student Accounts

Many educational institutes also offer student accounts for selected platforms like Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

This allows students to upskill themselves by taking online courses and earning certifications for free or at a heavily subsidised cost.

Student Discounts

Of course, we can’t forget about exclusive student discounts.

Many establishments from retail stores to restaurants to cinemas offer discounts exclusively to students, and usually, all you’ll need is a valid student pass.

If you’re a student who is planning to go out with friends, consider going to a place with student discounts to make it lighter on the wallet for everyone.

And you might as well enjoy them while you can since you’re not going to be a student forever.

To summarise,

There are many different ways that you might be entitled to benefits.

If you want to save money on your daily expenses or while enjoying the finer things in life, knowing what benefits you are entitled to and making it a point to claim them will definitely be helpful to you.

What’s your favourite benefit to take advantage of? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *