It’s that time of year again when we review how far we’ve come in life and try to determine what the next year will bring. Now is a good time to do an personal lines insurance checkup. Many things may have changed in the past year that could affect your coverage. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
Did You Move?
If you were fortunate enough to buy a new home or move to a larger place in the past year, did you remember to bring your insurance coverage with you? Continuing to pay premiums on a policy for a home where you no longer live doesn’t make good financial sense, and will be disappointing in the event of a claim.
Check your policies to make sure that they have the right location address and that the amounts of coverage are sufficient to cover both your new home and your personal property. If you purchased new furnishings to go in your new place, will you have enough coverage in the event of a fire or other disaster?
While you’re checking, make sure you have flood insurance as part of your portfolio. If you don’t have this coverage, now is the time to call your broker and get it in place. There is a 30-day wait before coverage begins, so don’t delay.
Did You Remodel?
If you didn’t move, you may have done renovations on your home. That new kitchen, bathroom or den not only looks amazing, but it increases the value of your home.
Underinsuring your property can result in coinsurance penalties in the event of a claim. Lower limits of coverage can also increase out of pocket expenses if you should suffer a large loss.
If you added a pool, tennis court or another recreational facility to your property, you need to notify your insurance carrier. These items can increase the likelihood of injury to guests or neighbors and will need to be contemplated in your insurance coverage and premium.
Did You Get a New Car?
Many auto insurance policies offer automatic coverage for new vehicles for 30 days even if you don’t report them to your insurance company. However, after 30 days you must add the vehicle to your policy or it will not be covered.
Check with your broker to find out if all of your current vehicles are insured. Also, check the glove compartment of each vehicle to be sure you have an insurance ID card for that vehicle. You don’t want to risk being pulled over without proof of insurance.
What Did You Get For Christmas?
What did Santa bring you for Christmas this year? If you received electronic equipment, jewelry, or firearms it is a good time to review your policy sub-limits. A typical HO3 homeowners coverage form includes these sub-limits:
Jewelry: $1,500 for loss by theft only
Firearms: $2,500 for loss by theft only
Certain homeowners and renters insurance policies may offer more or less coverage for these items. Check your policy and consider scheduling any items that exceed these limits. Scheduling items not only offers more coverage but also extends coverage to loss from perils other than theft.
How Old Are Your Children?
As children age, insurance may need to change. If you have or are about to have a newly licensed driver, talk to your broker about adding this driver to your insurance policy. Your broker can also advise you on ways to save money on the premium for a newly added driver. On the other side of the coin, if you have children who have moved out of the home and are living on their own and insured under their own auto policies, removing them from your own policy could save you money.
If you have sent a child off to college there may be a sub-limit included on your policy for off-premises personal property that your child has at their dorm or off-campus home. Check your policy or discuss this sub-limit with your broker.
Did You Get A New Pet?
If you acquired a new dog or another animal as a pet, your homeowner’s policy may be affected. Some insurance carriers may exclude certain breeds of dog or exotic animals, so check with your broker if you think you may have an animal that is on this list.
Your insurance coverage only works properly if you keep it up to date. Talk to your broker to make sure you are covered for everything new in your life.