With another year come and gone, many insurance customers make the mistake of letting their policies renew without reviewing them. Worse yet, some customers don’t add the extra coverage they truly need as the year starts. Luckily the new year represents a chance to start again with your insurance coverage. Even if your coverage doesn’t end or renew until the middle of the year, now is the time to plan ahead. The thing is insurance needs are fluid and can change throughout the course of a year, if not sooner. So now that the calendar has turned over, let’s run down a checklist of a typical new year’s insurance review.
Homeowners Insurance – Claim Prevention
We say it time and time again, but the best way to keep your insurance costs low is to avoid claims. Homeowners insurance often represents the most expensive coverage in your insurance portfolio, and so even just one claim can really inflate your monthly premiums. Since most of us have a few days off around the holidays, take an afternoon to walk around and inspect your property as part of your insurance review. Are all walkways and stairs still in good condition? Now that the leaves have fallen off, are there any branches that look at risk to break? Have any new cracks appeared in your basement foundation and is your sump pump still functioning? Any problems dealt with now could avoid pricey claims down the line.
Shop Auto Insurance Coverage
It’s not uncommon for some customers to shop auto insurance each and every year as part of their insurance review. This doesn’t mean that they change coverage every year, but at least they know what else is out there. Insurance brokers like Square State Insurance are able to compare your existing coverage to similar options, and this gives you a full picture of the market that some other companies simply can’t provide. As long as your broker works with only quality insurers like Square State Insurance does, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting comparable coverage if you switch. Even so, make sure to carefully inspect your existing policy and the new policy to make sure figures like policy limits and other items match up. You may just find yourself saving hundreds on similar auto coverage to start the year.
Re-evaluate Life Insurance
Life insurance is often overlooked as part of an insurance review, especially if you are younger. However if you have children or are starting a family this year, you absolutely need to consider life insurance. It can ensure your family has the resources to cover bills and lost income should the unthinkable happen. Depending on what plan you choose, life insurance can also represent an investment towards your future. To learn more about how life insurance can benefit you, read When Do You Need Life Insurance?
Consider A Non-ACA Health Plan
Any insurance review isn’t complete until you consider your health insurance needs for the year. While the majority of us have relied upon Affordable Care Act for our insurance needs over the past few years, it’s no secret that shopping for insurance through healthcare.gov can be particularly discouraging for those that don’t qualify for significant tax credits. Now that the current administration has removed penalties for not using ACA qualified plans for 2019, there is actually a new insurance option many families should consider. A non-ACA health plan isn’t quite like the ACA plans you’re used to, but since it “streamlines” health insurance so to speak and excludes some measures required in ACA plans, it often costs less than what you’ll find on the ACA marketplace. Not everyone will qualify for this coverage, but it is well worth looking into for those interested in health insurance alternatives. Best of all, there is no open enrollment date so you can switch to it at any point in the year. Contact Square State Insurance for more information.
Add Umbrella Insurance
Even after you have reviewed all your existing insurance coverage options, there is still more you can do to protect your family. Umbrella insurance is truly a must-have option for those who accumulate significant assets or carry even a little risk of liability. The reason is simple – even the best insurance coverage has limits, be it auto, home or other policies. When that coverage limit is hit, any other damages you are liable for come out of your pocket. We don’t need to illustrate that such a circumstance can be devastating for some families. Umbrella insurance only costs a few dollars per day, and it can provide upwards of a million dollars or more in added coverage should you ever need it. Remember umbrella insurance only can be used when other coverage like auto or home is exhausted, and in this way it is a secondary coverage. It is not designed to cover your primary insurance needs.
Talk To An Insurance Broker
The most overlooked part of an insurance review is also the easiest – contact your insurance broker to check in or find a qualified broker in your area. In this age of “click to get your insurance coverage,” many take for granted their are qualified insurance brokers out there waiting to share their expertise with potential customers. Why would you visit a website with zero personable contact when you can work with a local broker who knows your market and understands your needs? For those who already work with a broker like Square State Insurance, it’s always wise to check in every year to discuss how your needs have changed. Are you planning a new home renovation? Is your son or daughter about to get their license? Are you just concerned you’re spending too much on insurance each year? Your broker will be able to present new coverage options based on these and any other scenarios you face in the coming year.
Complete Your Insurance Review
Your insurance review will look different than your neighbor’s, and despite how it may seem, insurance is a personalized product that can be customized to fit your individual needs. The easiest way to determine those needs is to perform an insurance review, and the new year is the perfect time to do so. As you review your coverage needs, questions are sure to come up. Square State Insurance is here to help. Contact us with any of your questions or simply to get started with your review.