Most people turn to their insurance brokers or insurers when a significant event in their life requires new or revised risk coverage – maybe when they buy a new home or when it’s time to exchange the old car. However, far fewer remember to check their insurance on a regular basis or when their coverage requirements change more subtly.
If you check your insurance regularly, make sure that your insurance coverage corresponds to what you expect to make a claim under the unfortunate circumstances. It also helps you make informed insurance coverage decisions and proactively minimize your insurance costs.
There are many different circumstances that may change your coverage requirements and may call an insurance professional for review. The following examples list some cases where you may want to review your reporting:
- Renovations – When you renovate your home, you are likely to add value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or expensive landscaping, remember to check your insurance limits to make sure they stay reasonable in the event of insured damage. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, it’s also very likely that your water damage insurance will need to be checked.
- You have accumulated possessions – Have you done a house inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your content is crucial to ensure that your limits are reasonable.
- You bought a high quality item – Keep in mind that some of your personal possessions need to be planned in order to be properly covered. Jewelry, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are some examples of items that may require additional reporting.
- New covers have become available – The insurance industry often adapts to changing market conditions and offers insurance coverage in areas where this was not the case in the past. Homeowners have recently received insurance for water damage in the countryside and for problems with the repair of houses (e.g. defective stoves) in some areas. Legal protection insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are also available from brokers who want to do more for their risk and insurance needs.
- Laws change to give you more or less choice – Changes in car accident benefits mean that you should review your selection.
- You get additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system, you will likely get a discount on your homeowners policy. If you use snow tires for your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance. If you are over 50-55 years of age, you may be entitled to discounts for older drivers.
- If you change jobs and commute faster – You should report this to your insurance broker, as driving is generally associated with a lower risk and cheaper premiums. If you have a specific job, you may also be entitled to lower insurance rates.
- You started a business at home – Any use of your home other than just residential use may require business insurance to adequately cover liability risks.
- Your personal circumstances change – If you are getting married or have children, you can review your coverage to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to support your relatives in the event of an accident.
- Your child gets a driver’s license – Always check that your child can be added to your policy. It is often the cheapest option to insure them for driving. If you get your own car, you are probably also entitled to a discount for several cars.
- If your child moves away to go to college or university – Check to see if homeowner insurance coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away from school. It can be cheaper to take out standalone tenant insurance.
- If you haven’t had an insurance exam in over a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. An important example of this is your home contents insurance. Real estate values and replacement costs can easily rise so far that your existing coverage limits do not allow for a complete reconstruction of your home in the event of a total loss.
Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always a good idea. Even if you don’t save on insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies run for one year, you should speak to your insurance specialist before extending your annual insurance coverage.
Source by Tom Lum