Have you reviewed your insurance needs for 2019?
The turn of the new year is the perfect time to assess whether or not you have adequate coverage to protect your family and assets in the event of an accident or major life event.
7 questions you and your insurance agent should be discussing:
Have you had any major life changes? (Life changes include events such as retiring, a death in the family, a new job, a new child, new drivers in the home, good grades, driving violations, updates to your home, improvement of your credit score… all of these events can have a dramatic impact on your personal insurance.)
Are you still adequately protected?
Are you paying for coverages that you don’t need?
Do you qualify for additional discounts?
Is it time to consider an umbrella policy?
Is it time to consider life insurance?
Should the kids have their own policies?
If it’s been more than two years, there’s a good chance your coverages are out-of-date. The scary part is that you won’t even know something is wrong until it’s too late. At best, this might mean you’re missing out on a discount you weren’t aware of. At worst, you’re not covered for a major claim that can greatly impact the financial (and, in turn, emotional) well-being of you and your family…
Make it your New Year’s resolution to sit down with your agent.
Haven’t heard from him or her in a while? Then it’s time to consider a change. A good agent will insist on a review of your coverages at least every 2-3 years.
A review should cover the following:
You and your agent should be reviewing your current risk exposure. In the insurance industry, this is critical. Without reviewing exposure, your policies are almost worthless. What’s changed since your last review? Where are you exposed? Where are you over-insured?
This discussion should include a very general review of your financial position. In most cases, an insurance agent is not your financial advisor. However, the agent will need to know some basics in order to make sure you are covered.
Insurance Company Review
Reviewing your current insurance company is very important. Has its financial ratings changed? Claims paying ability ratings are very important. Never work with an insurance company that has an AM Best rating of less than “A-Excellent.” Has there been a major shift in management or company philosophy? A once-moral and generous insurance company can become stingy and robotic overnight. A good insurance agent should alert you to the change.
Review pricing. In the last 10 years, the industry has developed a rather serious case of tunnel vision when it comes to price. While important, it should never be the sole reason for your decision. There are plenty of insurance companies doing business in your area and competition is fierce. This natural, economic reality is the consumer’s best friend. In other words, insurance companies that gouge or play “bate and switch” games with pricing don’t last long.
Lastly, you must let your agent know what your priorities are. A good agent will recommend that you cover every risk that you’re exposed to. For most consumers, covering all these exposures is just not economically possible. Having a frank conversation with a trusted agent will help you find the proper balance of adequate coverage that fits your budget.
Need help reviewing your own insurance needs?
About the Author:
Robert Heed is a licensed insurance agent located in Medina, Ohio. Robert has been in the insurance business since 1994. He shares his practice, Agency One Insurance, with his wife and fellow insurance agent, Christine Heed. Robert focuses on Personal lines, while Christine’s focus is with Commercial Insurance. They have two children, Patrick and Grace, and have been married since 1995.