Start 2017 with an Insurance Checkup!
Many times we buy an insurance policy, make our payments and place it on the shelf, never to be looked at again until it’s time to make a claim. However, insurance policies are not a one size fits all products, and your needs will be different tomorrow than they are today. One of the most overlooked advantages of independent agents is their ability to customize your insurance products with companies that best address your needs. Our lives are ever changing. Meeting with your agent on a regular basis for a checkup is the best way to make sure your policies cover your needs. Here are a few things to discuss.
Your deductible is the amount of a claim you are responsible to pay. Many times people feel that the lower the deductible the better. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite. One of the factors that determines your initial rate and your renewal rate increases is your deductible. The higher your deductible the lower your rate and rate increase at renewal. Start by determining the maximum amount out of pocket you can pay on any one property claim. Then have your agent determine the premium difference between your current deductible and the higher deductible. Since homeowners average one claim every 10 years, the small yearly savings can add up very quickly. Putting back the yearly savings of a higher deductible can usually more than pay for the increased out of pocket over the long haul.
Whether it is your home or business, having an up to date inventory is so important. First, when you file a property claim, any personal property will have to be listed and submitted to the company in order to be replaced. If you can’t remember what you had, you can’t get it replaced. Second, many types of property have a limited coverage amount useless you schedule them on the policy. The scheduling of these items might be called a floater or an inland marine. For homeowners; jewelry, furs, firearms, musical instruments, sports equipment and similar valuable objects will have a set per item limit or per category limit. For example, jewelry might be limited to $1,000. This will be inadequate for many homeowners. Businesses may have equipment or tools that are used away from the business premises. You will likely have minimum or no coverage in the policy for these items while at another location or in your trailer or auto. Scheduling them will give you coverage where you need to use them.
Having your agent review the discounts applied to your policy on a regular basis can save you money without compromising coverage. As your life changes, your qualification for certain discounts changes too. Also, when companies file new policy forms with the state, many times they will file new discounts. Reviewing this aspect of your policy can help keep your coverage in your budget.
If you do not have your policies bundled with one company, have your agent show you the pros and cons. Bundling all your policies with one company can often save money and build a preferred relationship with your insurance company. While there can be reasons not to bundle, most people find that it saves them both time and money.
Every type of insurance policy will have additional endorsements available for an extra premium charge. For example homeowners’ coverage might be for earthquake, sinkhole, equipment breakdown, identity theft or landscaping to name a few. No matter if you have a home, auto, business or life policy, additional endorsement will be available.
Like every product, insurance policies are always changing to better serve the policy holders. Most companies will make policy changes every year or every few years. Ask your agent about your policy changes and how they affect your coverage.
Are you wondering how to customize insurance products to fit your needs? Contact one of our advisors today and let them show you how.