THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance?
Since then, if you’ve gotten married, had a baby, added a four-legged friend to your family, sent a kid off to college, finished your basement, bought a trampoline, replaced your roof or made a big purchase like a diamond ring or a set of golf clubs, your insurance is most likely out-of-date and it is time for a review. As a good rule of thumb, when there’s a change in your life, more likely than not, your insurance will need to change, too.
There are many benefits to an annual insurance review. First of all, in the instance of a loss, you’ll want your policy to be up-to-date to ensure that you’re covered. During an insurance review, your agent will go over specific details about your life and insurance policies to make sure that all your needs are met. Secondly, you may find something that you don’t currently have covered, a discount that you aren’t taking advantage of or an extra coverage to add at no additional cost. Finally, your agent can help you understand your current coverages and go over any changes in your premium cost.
An independent agent is a valuable resource and will be able to guide you through the process. However, there are a few things you can do to be sure you get the most from your next insurance review.
1. Come prepared
To ensure both an efficient and beneficial review, it is wise to come prepared. Bring information on all of your cars, including make, model, year, drivers and primary use. When it comes to your home, know the age of features, like your roof and furnace, along with details of any major remodeling efforts.
Also, bring a home inventory with you and be sure to make note of valuable items, like jewelry or instruments, that may not be fully covered by a typical homeowners or renters policy. A home inventory can sound like quite a task, but there’s a variety of apps that can help make the process easier. Bringing current and accurate information on these details can give your agent a good idea of what your needs are and what kind of policy is best for you.
2. Ask questions
Insurance-speak can be confusing. So don’t be hesitant to speak up when you don’t understand your policy. Your agent wants you to be aware of your needs and what your policy does and does not cover. The bottom line is, you should understand what you’re paying for. And your agent can help you by answering any questions you may have.
3. Think in scenarios
Insurance is there to protect you during the “what-ifs.” What if my tree falls on a neighbor’s fence? What if one of my kid’s friends gets hurt on our trampoline? What if my newly-finished basement floods? Present these scenarios to your agent to learn more about your insurance and be confident in what risks your policy covers.
4. Have a coverage-over-price mindset
We’re not saying that price isn’t important. Cost is a huge factor when it comes to purchasing anything. But you don’t want to sacrifice adequate coverage for a cheaper policy. It has the potential to really hurt your finances in the long run. To get the best results, go into your review with a quality-over-quantity mindset. Determine your needs first, and then work on finding the best price.
5. Ask about discounts
Once again, cost is important. So after you’ve found the best coverage, why not try to get a few extra perks or a discount? Often, insurance companies will provide incentives for renewing your policy with them. For instance, companies may offer accident forgiveness to good drivers who have been customers for a certain number of years.
Discounts are another way to save on your premium. From having a good student with a great driving record to bundling multiple policies from the same carrier, there may be discounts for reasons you wouldn’t expect. Always ask your agent about additional ways to save.
6. Don’t be afraid to call your agent for a review
Part of the value of your policy is that it comes with an insurance agent. And your agent can help you understand your policy, while making sure that you have proper coverage at the best price. When you finish your review, you will be in a better position because your insurance will reflect your current needs, you’ll have a better understanding of your policies and you may even save a buck or two along the way.
If you’re a Grange customer, you can arrange an annual insurance review with your independent agent by logging in to your My Grange Account and submitting a request for an annual insurance review.
Thank you to John Dawson Associates, Verne Hart Insurance Agency and Williamson Insurance for providing an agent’s perspective and advice for this article.
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