By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. It’s also the perfect time for an annual insurance check-up. As the days, weeks and months go by, our lives change. So do our insurance needs. To make sure you haven’t outgrown your insurance, it’s a good idea to review your coverages at least once a year to determine whether any recent life changes require any insurance changes.
- Have you gotten married? You may be entitled to marital status or multi-car premium discounts on your auto insurance. Your homeowners’ insurance may no longer be sufficient after merging two households under one roof.
- Have you had a baby? Children need to be covered by health insurance and should be protected by life insurance.
- Did your child get a driver’s license? Covering teenagers under a parent’s auto insurance policy is often cheaper than purchasing a separate policy. Discounts may also be available for good grades or driving school.
- Have you switched jobs? New jobs often mean new fringe benefits, so identify which employer-provided coverages have been gained or lost, and adjust personal coverages accordingly. If income increases, coverage limits may also need to be increased.
- Have you done extensive renovations on your home? Major home improvements, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch or expanding a kitchen, may leave you underinsured. Homeowners’ coverage limits may need to be increased to cover the increased value of your renovated home. New structures, like a gazebo, pool or hot tub, may not be covered under your current policy.
- Did you buy a second home? Second homes may be harder to insure because they are often located in areas with specific risks (earthquakes, avalanches, floods, etc.) and vacant for long periods of time.
- Have you acquired any new valuables (jewelry, electronics, fine art, antiques)? Standard homeowners’ policies offer limited coverage for certain high-value items, so a personal property floater may be necessary.
- Did you purchase any new toys? In addition to being valuable, items like boats, motorcycles and recreational vehicles can create potentially significant liability exposures that must be covered by insurance.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, these questions can help identify and avoid painful coverage gaps. They can also save you money if it turns out you have more insurance than you need. Please contact us to learn more about evaluating your current insurance needs.