It's January and Time for Your Annual Insurance Check-up!

Do You Have the Coverage You Need?

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It is a new year; a time for beginnings and a time for all that is new. It is also a perfect time to assess your insurance coverage to make sure you and your family are properly protected no matter what the new year may bring! Let’s break it down into the following insurance checklist steps:  Inspect, evaluate, change, and monitor.

Inspect

Sure, this sounds like a great idea, but where do you even begin?

An obvious first step is an inventory of all the policies you have covering your home, health, auto, life, business and personal property. Gather them all together and as unappealing as you may find the idea; read them over. You would be surprised at how many people do not even know what their insurance policies cover.

Evaluate

Now that you’ve read the policies over, is there anything that stands out to you that just doesn’t seem right or brings questions to mind? Write these questions down and go over them in a one-on-one conversation with your insurance agent or if you are insured with a direct writer, with a company representative. The representative can help you understand any insurance terms that seem unclear and other things like policy limits, deductibles, and exclusions. Exclusions are items specifically detailed in the policy that are not covered in the event of a loss or accident.

These exclusions are often overlooked by many policyholders.

Evaluation Tools

If you need further assistance in evaluating your insurance needs and any changes you need to make to your existing insurance policies, there are a number of insurance tools available to help you.  Some are available for purchase and some are free.

Here are just a few examples of some of the evaluation tools and there are many others out there.

The Suze Orman’s Insurance Evaluator is an insurance evaluation tool and is available for $29.95. It claims to evaluate and help you determine if you have the right kind of coverage for home, auto, life, disability and long-term care insurance. Other insurance coverage evaluators are free to use such as the Life Insurance Coverage Evaluator available from SelectQuote, a direct marketer of term life insurance. For business owners, there are both free and paid insurance evaluator tools out there.

Make Needed Changes

Once you determine through your analysis that you are not properly covered and need to make a change to your insurance policy, don’t put it off. Today is the day—in other words—do it now! Why? Once you have a loss and have to file a claim with your insurance company, it is too late then. It doesn’t matter what you meant to do. It all boils down to the fact that you did not make the change to your insurance policy and the claim will go unpaid. This could have devastating effects in both your personal and financial life, so don’t let it happen to you.

Monitor

Now that you see how easy it is to do an evaluation of your insurance coverage, get needed advice and make any needed changes; there is nothing left but for you to do it.

However, you are still only halfway through. You will need to continue to monitor changes you have made to your insurance to make sure it is keeping you, your family, your business and personal belongings properly protected.

Any time any major life change happens such as a birth, death, buying/selling a home, buying/selling a business, opening a home-based business and other life events; it is very likely that changes will be needed in your insurance coverage. Once you begin thinking in this frame of mind, you will be ahead of the game and ready for any surprises life may throw at you.