In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, insurance policies can often fade into the background.
It’s not uncommon to autorenew them year after year, assuming that your coverage remains an adequate safety net to hold you and your loved ones up during times of need. But what if those nets have holes or, worse, aren’t there when you require them most? That’s why dedicating time to review the following insurance policies at the beginning of each year can be crucial to maintaining your financial security.
This type of insurance can help protect your loved ones and ease some of their burden during a major time of uncertainty. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your policy, take the time to do so now, especially if you recently got married or divorced, had a child, bought a home, or started a business since these events can change your coverage needs. Make sure that the death benefit would provide sufficient funds to support those you would leave behind, such as by replacing the income you bring to the household or covering the care costs of an elderly parent. Also, be sure to update your beneficiaries if your situation has changed since you first selected them. If you don’t yet have a life insurance policy, this is your chance to search for the best option for you and your current lifestyle.
Besides protecting your home, a main benefit of homeowners insurance is that it covers the cost of replacing your personal items in the event of a loss. However, that’s only up to your selected maximum coverage limit. To ensure you’re always fully protected, you’ll need to regularly examine what you’ve recently bought or sold so you can update that limit accordingly. A simple way to do this is through a home inventory, which provides an accurate overview of your possessions and their overall value. Consider conducting one this month so you can better understand how your coverage needs may have changed.
Furthermore, if you completed any major renovations last year, such as adding more square footage or building a pool, you may need to update your coverage since doing so likely increased the value of your home. You may also want to purchase additional coverage for floods and earthquakes if you live in an area prone to these natural incidents; they generally aren’t offered on traditional homeowners insurance. Talk with your provider to discuss your needs and ensure that you have the right amount at the best price possible.
Because it is a legal requirement in forty-nine states, auto insurance is an easy policy to purchase and continually renew without thought, particularly if you don’t know what it entails or what coverage you really should have. The basic mandates, though, may no longer be enough for your needs. So if your commute, driving habits, number of covered family members, or vehicles have changed, take a closer look at your policy this month. You can discuss any recent updates with your provider, being sure to check for discounts you may now qualify for as well.
This kind of insurance may not be one you’re familiar with or think you need, but it’s a good safety net to have. An umbrella policy goes above and beyond your other ones, such as homeowners and auto, to provide additional coverage for incidents where you’re at fault or the cost is greater than your main policies’ coverage limits. It can help with injuries, property damage, lawsuits, and personal liability, giving you extra peace of mind in whatever areas you may need it most.
When reviewing your policies, don’t forget about your four-legged friend. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of medical care for your animal companion, including regular checkups and emergency visits depending on the policy. If you recently welcomed home a new pet, such coverage could be worth the investment; according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average annual cost for insurance covering both accidents and illnesses is $640 for dogs and $387 for cats. That may seem like a lot, but paying now can save you a great deal in the long run should your pet end up needing more extensive care.
Remember that insurance needs change over time, making it essential to regularly review your policies and coverage limits to ensure they’re still sufficient. If you’re uncertain about anything, consider seeking advice from an experienced insurance agent or broker, who can help you find the right coverage for you.