Life changes and so do insurance needs. Whether it’s getting married, having kids or trading in your car for another one — these changes need to be communicated to your insurer.
An adviser can help you understand the different policies available and the premiums associated with them. They can also help you manage your risk and avoid costly peaks and valleys.
Review Your Coverage Needs
If you want to ensure that your loved ones and belongings are protected, it’s important to make sure that your insurance policies meet your current needs. An agent can help you review your coverage and provide professional guidance to determine whether or not any changes need to be made.
Generally speaking, you should review your home, auto and life insurance annually. This is especially true if you recently purchased or sold a property, changed your mortgage company, car loan status or job. These types of changes could affect your coverage requirements and result in costly gaps in protection.
Another time to review your policy is after a major life event, such as having a baby, getting married or losing a family member. You should also consider changing the beneficiaries on any existing policies if your situation has changed.
If your business is growing, you may need to consider securing additional coverage. For example, you might need to increase the limits on your commercial general liability or workers’ compensation policy. Your agent can help you assess your risks and determine if these changes are necessary to protect your business.
You should also review your policy at least once a year to make sure that the coverages are still relevant in light of new risks, such as cyberattacks and data privacy risks. It’s important to take note of these emerging risks so that you can protect your business from potential claims and liability. In addition, you should review your business insurance types periodically, such as terrorism and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, as these risks can change quickly. You should also review your business coverages if you start or expand into a new market, as this can also introduce new risks that require appropriate protection.
Find All Available Discounts
It’s important to make sure you are taking advantage of all available discounts. These can include discounts for bundling, being an auto accident free driver or having a good credit score. Additionally, most insurers will offer a discount for being a long-term customer. You can often find information about these discounts on the declarations page, or an attachment thereto, of your policy. You can also contact your agent or visit a carrier website to learn more about their cost-saving opportunities.
A few insurance companies, including Allstate, Farmers, American Family and Travelers, also offer automatic payment and paperless billing discounts. These can help reduce administrative costs and keep your policy up to date.
Another way to save is by shopping for a new policy before your current one expires. Many insurers will give you a one-time discount for doing this, and the amount depends on the company. For example, Travelers will save you 3% to 10%, depending on how soon your previous policy was due to expire. Talk with your friends and family, or a licensed insurance agent, to learn more about how you can save by changing the carriers you do business with. You may be surprised at the savings you can find.
Consider Your Budget
The main reason that people get insurance is to mitigate a potential financial loss from an unexpected event. Unfortunately, you can’t always control the outcome of an event such as a fire or car accident. However, you can adjust your budget to help manage the impact financially. Depending on the situation, this may mean trimming spending on unnecessary items or adding spending on necessary ones.
When considering your budget, it’s important to consider the costs of all insurance policies. This includes the fixed premium (the monthly cost of your insurance) as well as other expenses, such as copays and deductibles. You should also factor in any upcoming changes to your coverage needs or lifestyle. For example, if you plan on changing jobs that would affect your mileage or you’re thinking about downsizing to a smaller car, make sure you understand how these factors will affect your insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Health care costs, in particular, can be an unexpected expense for many people. When creating a budget, it’s helpful to look at past medical and insurance claims to help estimate annual healthcare costs. This will give you an idea of what to expect and how much to set aside each year.
It’s also a good idea to speak with an insurance agent when budgeting for your insurance. They can review your previous year’s claim history and explain how claims may impact your future rates. For instance, if your current company paid out more than they earned in premiums last year, you could see an increase in your rate next year. An agent can also discuss your coverage options and recommend ways to trim costs without reducing coverage.
Review Your Policy at Least Once a Year
The best way to ensure that you always have the right amount of protection is to review your policy at least once a year. This allows you to verify that you have the right coverage levels, while also helping you keep your premium costs competitive.
A number of life events can trigger the need to review your policy. Some of the most common include getting married, buying a new home or sending children off to college. It’s important to take the time to review your policies following these events so that you can make sure your policies reflect your new circumstances.
It’s also a good idea to review your policies when you complete major renovations at home or for your business. These changes may require you to increase your coverage limits or deductibles and may also qualify you for certain discounts. For example, adding a pool or shed to your property could trigger the need for additional insurance protection. If you add medical equipment to your home, it could be necessary to increase your life insurance protection or even consider a new rider policy.
Changing jobs or retiring are other events that often warrant a policy review. It’s important to understand how these changes can affect your premium, and it’s also a good time to see if you can save by bundling or switching policies. Keeping your insurance documents organized and readily available can help you remember to schedule these reviews on a regular basis. The last thing you want is to discover that you have an uninsured loss or find out too late that your coverage isn’t sufficient for your needs. A comprehensive insurance review can help you avoid these issues while also sparing you the hassle and expense of making a claim.
Consider an Agent
When it comes to finding insurance coverage, you should consider working with a licensed agent rather than trying to do it yourself online. An agent will help you with many aspects of the process, including gathering quotes and providing recommendations for you. They also take the time to listen and understand your needs so they can find you a policy that is right for you.
They know the industry inside and out, so they are well positioned to answer any questions you may have about policy options and details. They will also make sure you fully understand the coverage you choose and can help you with claims, billing and other issues as they arise. A local agent is also a great choice because they are familiar with the risks and issues specific to your area.
Whether you need life insurance or business insurance, an agent can recommend the best options for your situation. They will consider your age, health status, family history and financial goals when suggesting a plan. For example, they will explain the difference between term life and whole life and suggest a plan that is appropriate for your circumstances.
Unlike captive agents, independent agents do not work for an insurance company and therefore have the ability to search multiple companies for the most competitive policy. They will save you valuable time by doing the research for you and helping you find a policy that fits your needs and budget. They are also available to meet with you in person to discuss your concerns and explain any policy terms or benefits that may be confusing. They will continue to be there for you when you need them most, whether you are filing a claim or reviewing your policies as your needs change.