Year end is a perfect time to review your insurance policies for home, auto and life. Not only could your current policy coverages need adjusting but your life circumstances may have also caused need for change. Consider the following suggestions to stay current.
Create a summary page
The easiest way to organize and review your insurance policies is to create a one-page summary for each policy. This is often spelled out for you in the declarations page but you could also create your own policy template in excel or on paper to include relevant information in a way that can help you understand and remember it.
Start with the basics
Determine the type of policies you have first. Establish if you have life insurance, property and casualty insurance, auto insurance and who the carrier is for each. Make a note of the customer service numbers. If you created a single summary form as suggested above, add the policy numbers, policy issue date and what the premium is on your form. Don’t forget to update beneficiaries for the policies if necessary.
What to Review
Once you have the basics down, review details of the policy so you understand how the benefits work and what restrictions apply. Reviewing once a year can help you spot places where you have duplicate coverage, too much coverage, or areas where you are under-insured.
To begin your review, read your policy carefully. Look for answers to these questions:
- Do premiums or benefits vary from year to year?
- What part of the premiums or benefits is not guaranteed?
- What is the effect of interest on money paid and received at different times on the policy?
- In what situations and through what procedures can cash values be accessed?
- Can the policy be converted into another form of insurance or annuity?
When your home owner’s insurance is up for renewal, it’s important to review the whole policy. Even if you haven’t made any significant developments or improvements to your home, it is possible that other changes have occurred that your insurance agent should know about. Changes in the real estate market may affect the current policy or changes in lifestyle, living situation, or income are all factors to consider when reviewing your home owner’s policy.
Auto insurance policies need to be reviewed to ensure that you have adequate coverage and protection for all drivers. Did you add any drivers this year? Have your driving habits changed so that you drive more or less this year as compared to last? Will you have any upcoming road trips that may require additional coverage? If the value of your car has dipped below $3,500, it might be a good time to remove the collision coverage and go for liability only. Taking the time to review these aspects each year will save you money and give you peace of mind.
Take a look back at your year and establish if and how your responsibilities have changed. You may need to increase your insurance coverage to accommodate the care of all who depend on you. Note how your health, activity or stress levels are compared to a year ago and be sure you are comfortable with your insurance coverage.
To conduct a thorough insurance review, call Mel Foster Insurance to schedule an appointment or visit our website.