Do you review your insurance policies on a periodic basis? We commonly tend to set insurance policies aside and forget that some items in them must be updated now and then. Most insurance policies contain a page in front of the insurance contract that is called a ” declarations page” or “policy summary.” It will contain most of the information you will want to review.
Your insurance policies should always be reviewed and updated following major life events (such as marriage, buying a house, or having children), but as a bare minimum, you should take a look at least once per year. As 2019 comes to a close, let’s discuss how you can conduct your personal insurance review to prepare for 2020.
Type of Policy
Is it health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, property and casualty insurance, or auto insurance? Specify the type of insurance policy in that individual category?
Keep track of the contact information for your insurance agent.
You will always need your policy number when you call and ask questions about an insurance policy.
Know the date the insurance was issued, as some have an expiration date, and or have certain time-related cancellation regulations.
Keep track of your premiums and how frequently they are paid. In the case of a whole life insurance policy, the policy could be paid up. In that case, if you were creating a policy summary you would write “No premiums required at this time as premiums are being paid by the dividends inside the policy.” For other types of insurance, you might list something like “Premium of $225 per month paid by automatic deduction from checking account.”
Who do the benefits apply to: you, your spouse, or a dependent child?
If you have had a significant life event or it’s just been a long time since the last time you reviewed, you may need to contact your insurer so that your beneficiaries reflect your current status.
You’ll want to check policy details so you understand how the benefits work, what restrictions may apply, spot areas where you may have duplicate coverage, too much coverage, or areas where you are under-insured.
Keep track of the total death benefit, and any additional riders such as a waiver of premium in the event of disability, or the ability to access the death benefit early in the case of being diagnosed with a terminal illness. If you have a term policy, put a reminder on your calendar the year the policy is set to expire, to evaluate options at that time and see if you still need life insurance.
Make sure you know your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket costs. For example, if the policy has a $3,000 deductible and a $6,000 max out-of-pocket cost, you’ll want to have $9,000 set aside in an emergency fund or Health Savings Account to use for that purpose.
You want to know the monthly benefit that is payable, how long it would pay you, and how the insurance company defines disability.
Property and Casualty
Check your total coverage relative to what you own, and to your net worth. As your net worth grows, the amount of insurance protection you have should also increase. If someone were to be injured on your property and sue you, would your coverage be sufficient?
If you have any questions or are confused or overwhelmed by this process, don’t hesitate to contact your personal insurance agent today. They’d be happy to answer any questions or even set a meeting to thoroughly review your policies with you.
About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies
At Thayer-Innes Insurance Agency and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agency, we strive to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to support Ann Arbor homeowners. Our homeowners’ policies can be tailored to meet your specific risk exposures and provides much more coverage than a traditional policy, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 395-6316.