As we get ready to ring in the new year, most people are looking forward and planning their New Year’s Resolutions. Often these resolutions include adding some degree of organization to your life. This might mean making a daily schedule or getting your finances lined up with your goals. While you’re putting together next year’s resolutions, don’t forget to review your insurance policies as well.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to look over your existing policies and examine them for necessary changes. Even if you don’t intend to update your policies, reviewing them is a great chance to refresh your memory on what is and isn’t covered. We’ve put together a list of what to look for as you review your insurance policies at the end of the year.
Make Sure You Have the Right Coverage
One of the most important aspects of insurance is to give you enough coverage should disaster strike. As life changes, such as welcoming a new baby to your family, your insurance needs are likely to change as well. Many people purchase insurance policies that are the right fit at the time but then allow the policy to go unchanged for several years. Especially for adults in their working years, it’s common to have more coverage needs as you age. Having enough coverage for your home, rental or vehicle is essential for protecting yourself and your belongings.
Homeowners and Renters Insurance
Many homeowners make changes in their lives which affect their homeowners insurance. Too often, however, they don’t realize that they might need more coverage from their policy. Some changes are more obvious than others. If you’ve added a significant addition to your home or completed a major renovation, your replacement cost has likely changed. You will want to ensure your current coverage is enough. If not, consider adding more coverage to your policy right away, so the new aspects of your home are covered.
Additionally, the cost of construction may have increased since you bought your home. If you purchased a homeowners policy when you purchased the house and have not looked at in a few years, now is a great time to review it. Speak with your homeowners representative to determine your home’s current value and update your insurance with the new replacement cost.
Adding more valuables to your home is another lesser known factor in home insurance coverage and also applies to renters insurance. As you accumulate various items, you will need to update your home inventory list. The end of the year offers a perfect chance to go through your belongings and add new items to your list. Renters and homeowners alike will want to double-check that their current coverage is enough to replace or repair their belongings. More expensive items like jewelry or high-end electronics may not have adequate coverage from a basic homeowner or renters policy because their value is above special sub-limits in the policy. As an example, the theft of jewelry will typically have a separate coverage limitation in the policy. Check your policy’s coverage limits to determine if you need to add additional coverage for things like a new engagement ring.
Much like homeowners insurance, many drivers purchase an auto insurance policy and renew it without changes each year. There are many life changes that can affect car insurance needs and rates. If you’ve moved to a new city in the past year or added a new driver to the family, you may want to check for changes to your auto policy.
For example, families with teenagers reaching driving age should add them as named drivers to existing auto policies, so they are covered if they get into an accident. Retirement or a job change with a shorter commute can also offer significant changes to your car insurance. Both of these scenarios feature a driver spending less time on the road, which can change your auto insurance needs.
Determine if You Have Too Much Coverage
As life changes over the year, you may actually need less coverage for certain insurance policies. Many people use the end of the year as a way to declutter. This might mean selling off some of your belongings or donating them to charity. This can have an impact on your coverage needs. A homeowner, for example, may have sold a boat that had been sitting in the garage. While the watercraft would have needed its own policy when out on the water, a basic homeowners insurance policy offers some coverage while it was stored on the property. Getting rid of items, especially more expensive ones, can cause you to have more coverage than you need from your homeowners or renters policies.
Too much coverage on car insurance often comes from the policyholder not making changes to coverage as their car ages. If you purchased an auto policy with a brand-new car and that car is now an old clunker, it might be a good idea to lower your coverage. Often the cost of carrying many optional coverages makes sense for a new vehicle and become obsolete for an older vehicle with a lower replacement value.
One of the best parts of reviewing your policies at the end of the year is to check for new discounts. Many of the small changes you have made over the year may allow you to receive discounts on your insurance. If you installed a burglar alarm or made certain smart home upgrades, you may qualify for a homeowners discount. Likewise, you might qualify for auto insurance savings if you added a new car to your policy or have maintained a good driving record.
Review Your Insurance Policies
The end of the year is the perfect time to go over your insurance policies and determine if you need to make changes. It also offers a chance to check for discounts and cost-savings. Find out if you are eligible for any new discounts by giving us a call at 1-800-640-2920. We’ll help you determine if there are any changes you should consider making to your policies, so you’re adequately covered in the new year.