How and Why You Should Conduct an Annual Review of Your Personal Insurance Policy
All too often, consumers purchase insurance policies and never review them to reflect the changes of a growing family, new purchases, or changing rates. While you might still have the legally required amount of insurance, failing to review your policy can result in coverage gaps and missed advantages on lower rates. Annual insurance reviews are easy and there are many reasons you might need changes in your coverage.
5 Reasons You Might Need to Update Your Personal Insurance Policy
Most people experience many changes throughout life. These changes often mean your insurance needs change as well. An annual policy review can help you keep your insurance up to date. Occasionally, life changes signal it’s time for an insurance review. Here are 5 reasons you may need to update your personal insurance policies.
1. Your family is growing.
Whether you’re welcoming a new baby, or your children are reaching their teens, your family is always growing. It’s a great idea to conduct an annual insurance review when you have a new baby, your child is learning to drive, or your children reach the age you’re no longer financially supporting them. Even the addition of a new pet to your family is a chance to discuss with your insurance agent.
2. You made a major purchase.
Most people understand the necessity of changing a personal insurance policy after the purchase of a new home or vehicle. However, other major purchases or life changes can affect your policy as well. Even if you don’t buy a new home, a change of residence is a great time to consider updating your personal insurance. You may need to purchase rental insurance or consider a personal articles policy.
3. Your policy has been the same for several years.
It might seem like a good thing if your insurance remains the same over a long period of time. After all, your rates aren’t going up. It’s important to consider the fact that they aren’t going down either. Your age and your driving history could make you eligible for lower auto insurance rates. Your growing family can also mean you’re eligible for multi-policy discounts you weren’t offered in the past.
4. You experience occupational changes.
You might not think your job has a direct effect on your insurance coverage, but it’s a big part of your daily life. An occupational change might mean you spend more hours behind the wheel, face more responsibilities, or need commercial policies to have the right coverage. Whether you’re self-employed or work for an employer, it’s important to ensure your personal insurance provides you with adequate protection.
5. You’re not sure you have the right coverage.
Surprisingly, it’s not that uncommon to purchase an insurance policy and never have a real conversation with your insurance provider again. Your lifestyle is always changing, and your insurance agent should be available to advise you on how your policies should change to protect you. An independent insurance agent can help you understand your current policies and determine if you need additional coverage or are paying for insurance you don’t really use. At LoPriore, our motto is insurance that fits your lifestyle. Our independent insurance agents are ready to discuss the personal insurance policies you need to keep up with your ever-changing life.
How to Review Your Insurance Policy
The biggest reason people avoid making changes to their personal insurance is they don’t really understand the policy. Learning about the coverage you have isn’t difficult when you learn how to analyze the details in your policy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to annual insurance policy reviews.
Learn the basics.
The basic information of any personal insurance policy can be located on the declarations page or policy summary found near the front of your policy. You should be able to determine this basic information from your outline:
- Type of insurance
- Insurance carrier
- Policy number
- Date issued
- Premium amount and frequency
- Names of insured
- Beneficiary (for a life insurance policy)
Study the terms.
Understanding the terms of your insurance is the only way to make sure you have the coverage you need. The terms will vary depending on the type of policy you have. The terms of your personal insurance policies will tell you exactly what benefits are included and who is covered in the event of a loss. The following examples explain the terms of common personal insurance policies.
- Your personal auto insurance terms include the make and model of each vehicle covered, the type of coverage, and the names of those insured to drive the vehicle.
- Your homeowners’ insurance terms include the amount of total coverage, names of insured, and events or losses covered by the policy.
- Your personal articles policy terms include what items are covered, the amount of coverage, and if any deductions apply.
Top 10 FAQs Shopping for New Insurance
How do I know if I’m using the best insurance company?
Whether you have car insurance, home insurance, or coverage for your possessions, it can be easy to stay with the insurance company you’re accustomed to. Yet, if you don’t compare rates from other agencies, you’ll never know if you’re overpaying. Every few years compare rates from your current provider with other companies in the area.
Should I have more insurance coverage than the amount required by law?
The amount of insurance you need depends on your personal possessions, your lifestyle, your family, and the amount of coverage that gives you peace of mind. Minimum auto insurance coverage in Massachusetts could mean you don’t have collision coverage on your vehicles. You’re not even required to have home insurance if your house is paid for. Yet, having this coverage can help you get through an unexpected disaster. Discuss your options with your independent insurance agent to find insurance that fits your lifestyle.
What questions should I ask before purchasing a new policy?
Your insurance agent should be willing to answer any questions you have so you can be comfortable purchasing a new policy. Be sure you ask when your coverage begins, what events are covered by your policy, and how you are reimbursed if a covered event occurs. Ask any additional questions necessary to provide you with a full understanding of the policy.
How can I get lower insurance rates?
While getting low rates isn’t the primary way to shop for insurance, you need coverage you can afford. Once you’ve discussed the coverage you need with your independent insurance agent, ask about discounts you’re eligible for.
When can I upgrade my insurance if I need additional coverage?
New purchases or changes in your life could mean you need additional insurance coverage. This can mean upgrading or adding riders to an existing policy or purchasing a new policy. When you need new insurance coverage, there’s no reason to wait until your policy expires, or it’s time for your annual review. It’s important to get the coverage you need right away to avoid coverage gaps.
How should I choose my deductible amount?
Your deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance begins to reimburse you for damage caused by a covered event. While a high deductible means lower rates, your coverage won’t help if you can’t get past the deductible. Your deductible should be an amount you could actually afford to pay in the event of a total loss.
Do I need umbrella insurance?
It can be difficult to plan for emergencies. Umbrella coverage provides an additional layer of liability coverage that goes beyond the coverage of your primary insurance policies. For example, when the limits of your auto insurance or home insurance are exhausted, your umbrella insurance policy can provide the extra coverage you need. Even if you think have complete coverage that meets all your needs, umbrella insurance is one way to ensure you don’t have gaps in coverage.
Should I bundle my car insurance with other policies?
Most likely. Bundling policies with the same insurer can lead to valuable discounts. It can also mean that your insurer learns more about you and the insurance policies that will provide the coverage you need to keep you and your family safe.
Do I need auto insurance if I don’t own a car?
You might. If you rent vehicles or drive other people’s cars, you should have liability coverage to cover situations that could arise when you’re behind the wheel. If you depend solely on public transportation or other drivers, you don’t need car insurance.
Will my car insurance rates automatically decrease as I age?
Typically, auto insurance rates decrease as you gain driving experience and practice safe driving habits. At your annual policy review, discuss your rate with your independent insurance agent, and learn what you can do to lower your rates over time.
Contact your insurance agent.
After reviewing your policies, it’s a good idea to contact your agent to discuss any questions you have or make changes to your policy as necessary. Your insurance agent can offer advice to make sure you have enough coverage without duplicating coverage under multiple policies. Additionally, your insurance agent can look for new discounts and a variety of policies you may not have needed in the past.
Reviewing your personal insurance policies may seem like a chore that would be better put off for a later date. However, making changes to your policy can save you money with lower rates and ensure you have the protection you need in the event of an unexpected disaster. At LoPriore Insurance Agency, our agents serve as trusted advisors for customers. We’re happy to take the time to discuss changes in your life and help you determine how your insurance should change to fit your lifestyle. Get in touch today to learn about the policies we offer, discount opportunities, or get an instant quote. Your personal insurance is one way to ensure you, your family, and your possessions are protected from potential risks. Proper protection today leads to a safer, happier tomorrow.