Sunday, December 30, 2012

7 Signs that You Need an Insurance Checkup

The new year is on its way! Have you made your resolutions?

Since 2013 is coming fast, we thought it would be a good time for an insurance checkup!

As time goes on and your life changes, your insurance needs will change too. Periodically updating your insurance can help save you money and ensure that the policy you started so many years ago is still relevant today. 

Time for your annual checkup! You need to make sure that your valuables are protected.
(Image courtesy of vichie81 at 

You might have done some things last year that you didn't realize could change your insurance. Here are some flags that you might need to review your policy.

You've renovated your home.

(Image courtesy of africa/

Have you recently made any improvements to your home? If so, you should check with your insurance agent to make sure you are getting the most out of your coverage. You might be paying more than you have to because many companies offer discounts for home improvements. Or worse, you might not have the coverage that you need.

You should check in with your agent if you have made any of the following changes to your home:

  • Replaced your roof, heating system, electrical system or plumbing.
  • Added a security or sprinkler system.
  • Built an attached or detached structure, such as a new porch, storage building or carport.
  • Installed a pool or hot tub.
  • Done any significant remodeling that might have raised the replacement cost of your home.

You've made any large purchases.

If you’ve recently purchased anything valuable, you might want to check and make sure it is covered. While the bulk of your home’s contents are going to be covered under your personal property coverage, most home insurance policies put a limit on how much they will pay for certain categories of property, like jewelry, firearms, furs and collectibles. Certain things may need to be scheduled, or specifically listed. Your agent will be able to help you determine the best way to cover your valuables.

You've had a child leave for college.

Check with your agent to make sure the things that they take with them are still covered. Sometimes your personal property coverage will extend to cover their things while they are away, but it is best to make sure that they don't need to get their own separate renter's policy to cover their belongings instead. It might also save you money on your auto insurance if they no longer have access to any vehicles on the policy.

You've changed marital status.

This is an important but often forgotten detail that agents need to know. If you have gotten married, your new spouse needs to be added to your policies so that they are covered as well. Also, a lot of times just changing your status from “single” to “married” on your insurance can make your premium go down a significant amount.

If you are recently divorced, you’ll want to make sure to let your insurance company know that as well so that your policy can be updated accordingly. Insurance policies should be split up just as assets are split up. If you have refinanced your home in only your name, for example, you wouldn’t want your ex’s name showing up on a claim check, would you?

You’ve improved your credit.

Having good credit can lower your insurance premium, but not every insurance company that uses credit as a factor gets an updated score at every renewal. If you think your credit has improved since you originally wrote the policy, you might consider asking your insurance company if they have recently checked your credit report.  

You've changed your job.

If you’ve changed jobs and it affects the amount of time you spend driving, you should let your agent know. It might not change anything, but some companies offer lower rates for those who work close to home and have a shorter commute.

Also, if you have started a job that requires you to drive on the clock in your personal vehicle, like pizza delivery, you need to let your agent know right away. Your personal insurance policy might not cover you while you are doing commercial activities, and might need to be rewritten as a commercial policy.

You’ve sold or purchased a vehicle.

This seems like an obvious one, but with all of the hassle of selling a car you might not have remembered to call up your insurance agent to have it removed from your policy…which might mean you are still paying for coverage on a vehicle that you don’t have. If you have a bill of sale showing the date that it was sold, your agent might be able to backdate the removal. If you bought a car, you’ll want to make sure that it was added to your policy so you don’t find out the hard way that you’ve been driving around in an uninsured vehicle.