Major purchases and lifestyle changes, such as marriage, divorce or retirement, can have a profound effect on your insurance needs, so reviewing your coverage annually is always a good idea, according to Patrick Bain, president of Long & Foster Insurance.
“Making sure you’re properly insured is important. If you don’t have enough coverage, you could end up paying for it later,” Bain said. “Conversely, you could save money if your current coverage is more than you need. It’s always good to do a regular checkup of your policies and provide updates to your insurance agent, who can also help you find money-saving discounts.”
The Insurance Information Institute recommends you consider the following questions when reviewing your policies:
•Have you gotten married or divorced? If you tied the knot, you may qualify for discounts on your insurance policies if you and your spouse combine them. You may also want to update your homeowners’ insurance, increase your insurance to cover new household goods and jewelry, and consider adding life insurance. If you got divorced, you should inform your insurer as you will need to set up separate auto and homeowners policies.
•Have you had a baby? If you have recently added a child to your family, whether by birth or adoption, it is important to review your life insurance and disability income protection.
•Did your teenager get a driver’s license? It is generally cheaper to add your teenagers to your auto insurance policy than for them to purchase their own. If they are going to be driving their own car, consider insuring it with your company so you can get a multi-car discount.
•Have you switched jobs or experienced a significant change in your income? If you had life and disability insurance through your former employer and your new employer does not provide equivalent protection, you can replace the “lost” coverage with individual policies.
•Have you done extensive renovations on your home? If you made major improvements to your home, you risk being underinsured if you don’t report the changes to your insurance company. And don’t overlook new structures outside of your home, such as sheds and gazebos.
•Have you acquired any new valuables such as jewelry or electronics? A standard homeowner’s policy offers only limited coverage for highly valuable items. If you purchased or received gifts that exceed these limits, consider supplementing your policy with a “floater,” a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.
•Have you signed a lease on a house or apartment? If you are renting a home, your landlord is responsible for insuring the structure of the building, but not for insuring your possessions.
•Have you retired? If you commuted regularly to your job, then in retirement your mileage has likely plummeted. If so, you should report it to your auto insurer because it could significantly lower the cost of your premiums. Furthermore, drivers over the age of 50 to 55 may get a discount, depending on the insurance company.
For more information, visit: www.iii.org or www.longandfosterinsurance.com.