Your Guide To Personal Insurance For 2021
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance coverage? The start of a New Year is a great time to review your personal insurance. Most of us know that major life events can make it necessary to update our insurance coverage. But did you know that even subtle changes can have an impact on your financial needs and plans? Call our office today, and we can help you find the right combination of coverage and price.
Insurance “To Do” List
General or Personal Items
- Review my insurance to make sure I have the right coverage
- Take the time to read my insurance policies
- Does my agent have all my correct information, including new phone number, address, and newly purchased property?
- Make sure I have identity theft insurance
- Do I have enough life insurance?
- Do I need life insurance for my spouse?
- Check my credit score
- Consider increasing my auto deductibles on my older vehicles
- Get a quote for earthquake or flood insurance
- Combine my auto and home insurance to save money
- Complete a home inventory to ensure my property values are correct
- Consider purchasing or increasing my umbrella coverage
- Consider an alarm system
- Clean my gutters
- Have I replaced all the batteries in my smoke detectors?
Have I experienced any of these changes?
- Bought a new car or sold a car
- Changed your marital status
- Bought a boat, RV or ATV
- Change of address
- Started a home business
- Remote working in 2021
- Welcomed a new baby into the family
- Received a major inheritance
- Have a new teen driver in the family
- New purchases of guns, jewelry or art
- Purchased second home
Please call our office today if you need to make any changes in your insurance program.
We Help You Save On Your Auto Insurance
Are you paying too much for your auto insurance? If you believe you are paying too much for your current auto insurance coverage, then the following suggestions may help you save money:
1. Let us shop your insurance
Sure, you've read this tip everywhere, but it's true. Only by having us shop around for auto insurance coverage and getting quotes on premiums from several insurance companies will you be able to know for certain you are getting your car insurance coverage at the best available rate.
2. Select a higher insurance deductible
When you file a claim, a deductible is an amount you pay first before your insurer pays the remaining balance. Often people select lower deductibles, so when they have to submit a claim, their out-of-pocket expenses are minimal. But the truth is the higher your collision and comprehensive deductibles, the lower your auto insurance premium. The savings by increasing your deductible to say $1,000 from $250 are significant you can save hundreds of dollars off your insurance premium.
Of course, the flip side is that if you should have to submit an insurance claim, you are responsible for paying the deductible. So select the maximum deductible you can afford to pay the higher the better because the difference in your car insurance premiums will mean more cash in your pocket.
3. Remove or reduce coverage on older vehicles
If your car is getting up there in age, you may want to think about dropping the collision or comprehensive coverage (or both) on your policy. You need to think about this one, though – it's not always a clear-cut decision. You need to weigh the cost of the two coverages with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. For example, if you had a 10-year-old car that's worth about $1000, and your deductible was $1000, the coverage is not going to help you.
4. Ask about discounts
Most insurance companies offer discounts. While the availability of discounts will vary depending on your insurer, where you live, and whether you meet eligibility, make sure to ask if there are any discounts you can take advantage of. The following is a list of a few of the more common discounts (if available in your state, each insurer will have different eligibility requirements):
· Multi-vehicle discount – available if you insure multiple vehicles with the same insurer
· Multi-line discount – available if you insure your home and auto with the same insurer
· Good driver discount – if you have not had an accident or ticket in a long time
· Good student discount – if you're a student with good grades, usually about a B average
· Safe driver discount – if you've taken and passed an accredited driver safety course
· Anti-theft discount – if your vehicle has certain anti-theft devices installed
· Safe vehicle discount – if your vehicle has certain extra safety features
· Retiree discount – if you've reached a certain age, usually 50 or 55
· Low mileage discount – if your vehicle is not driven often
· Occupational discount – if you work in a certain field or hold a certain degree
· Auto club discount – if you are a member of an auto club, like AAA
· Association discount – if you belong to certain associations, like your alma mater
· Away-at-school discount if your child is attending school out of town
5. Choose a car that costs less to insure
If you're purchasing a new car and have narrowed it down to two or three options, compare the auto insurance rates of each to see if there is a notable difference in the cost to insure. Remember, insurance rates are more for vehicles with high theft rates and repair costs. If there is a significant difference in cost to insure your first choice car, you may have to reconsider.
6. Drive safely
OK, this one is obvious but true. Drivers with no accidents, tickets, or insurance claim almost always pay less for their auto insurance coverage. Your driving record is an influential factor in determining your insurance rate. Tickets and at-fault accidents affect your insurance rates for years. With a less than perfect driving record, you can find yourself paying a lot of extra insurance premium over the years.
Check Your Insurance Before You Start Any Home Remolding Project
You may be looking for ways to improve your home. Perhaps you want to upgrade your heating system or replace a leaky roof. Or add on that sunroom you have always wanted. Before you get started, however, you'll want to know how that remodeling project can affect your insurance needs.
Update your homeowner's insurance
Whether you're updating your kitchen or adding on another room, a remodeling project will likely add value to your home. As a result, you'll want to check the property coverage limits on your homeowner's policy to make sure that they reflect any changes you make to your home, no matter how small or large the improvements may be.
And if you're adding on to your house, you'll want the addition specifically mentioned in your policy. If it's not, your insurance company may not provide coverage for damages that occur to the new room.
If You Hire Someone To Do The Remodeling
If you hire someone to do the remodeling, you'll want to make sure that he or she is properly insured. Any contractor that you hire should have a certificate of coverage for both workers' compensation and contractor's liability insurance.
Workers' compensation coverage protects you from liability claims that can result from a contractor (or his or her employees) getting hurt on the job. The contractor's liability insurance provides coverage for damages to your property caused by the contractor during remodeling.
If you hire a general contractor who is planning on handing off some of the work to a subcontractor (or if you plan on acting as a general contractor yourself), you'll also want to get a copy of the subcontractor's proof of insurance.
For The Do-It-Yourself Remodeling Project
Before jumping into a home improvement project, make sure that you're prepared in case an accident occurs. If someone helps you on a remodeling project is hurt, his or her injuries will be covered under the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy. You may also want to look into a personal umbrella liability policy, which provides coverage above and beyond your regular homeowner’s insurance and is especially important if you have significant assets that you need to protect.
· Before you get started, make sure that your remodeling project meets local building codes; otherwise, damages may not be covered by insurance.
· Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against any contractor you are hiring, and ask to see the contractor's license.
· Get copies of the contractor's insurance coverage--have the insurance agency or company send the certificate directly to you.
· Check your homeowner’s policy (or your contractor's insurance policy) to make sure that building materials and other uninstalled items (e.g., carpet, tile, cabinets) stored on your property are covered against theft and vandalism.
· Keep your insurance agent up-to-date about any improvements to your home--he or she can help make sure that you are adequately covered at all times.