The New Year is just around the corner and getting “insurance fit” is an excellent resolution for 2019. It’s just as important as getting physically fit but much easier than joining a health club and squeezing regular workouts into your schedule!
By “insurance fit” we mean talking to your insurance agent and reviewing your coverage. It’s tempting to let your Personal Insurance — Homeowners’ Insurance in particular — stay the same from year to year, but that's more dangerous than you realize. As your life changes, so do your insurance needs.
Think how horrible it would be to find out, after years of paying for insurance, that your policy doesn’t cover your claim when you need it most because of a gap in your coverage. Prevent this by taking action today.
Here is a simple checklist you can use for getting “insurance fit.” The first section you can do on your own, and the other section you can complete with your insurance agent.
Insurance Fit Checklist — Part 1
1. Make sure your current Auto Insurance ID card is placed in your vehicles
This is an easy one! People often forget to put their most recent Auto Insurance ID card into their vehicles. There are significant fines for not having proof of insurance in your car.
2. Use smartphone apps
In California, you also have the option of showing proof of Auto Insurance on your phone. Many personal Insurance companies offer many useful apps. We can help you find yours.
3. Keep your insurance documents organized
Keep copies of your Personal Insurance policies in a safe place. We also recommend keeping photos of the cover pages of each policy in an electronic file.
4. Create a home inventory
This important task is often postponed until it’s too late. Do you really think you’ll be able to remember all of your personal property after a fire, flood or theft? Work with a partner, tour your home and make a list of all important belongings. You can even do this with video. Using your smartphone, create a video inventory as your walk around your home describing each major item.
5. Update your family on your insurance and financial plans
Make it easier on your relatives to sort out the details should something tragic happen to you. Let them know where your insurance policies are kept and who the beneficiaries are on your Life Insurance policy. Also, familiarize key family members with important financial documents like a list of bank accounts and possibly your will.
6. Get healthy
The best way to get the best rate on Life Insurance is to stop smoking and get healthy. (This step isn’t as fast and easy as the first five, but it wouldn’t be a New Year’s resolution list without a reference to diet and exercise!)
Insurance Fit Checklist — Part 2
7. Set up a meeting with one of our agents
Having the right Personal Insurance in place protects your family, your property and your most important investments from damage, theft, natural disaster or other loss. Today’s insurance also protects you against newer risks like nursing home costs and identity theft. Your life changes year to year, so your insurance should be reviewed year to year. Your Leap/Carpenter/Kemps agent will do the heavy lifting for you. Simply answer questions about your personal situation and lifestyle. Has one of your kids entered college? Have you moved or divorced? Did you buy a boat or RV? Do you need a “personal articles floater” to cover high-value artwork, coins, jewelry or other collectibles? Then, we’ll revisit your policies and make recommendations if you don’t have the best possible combination of coverage, price and service. In particular, we’ll look for gaps in your coverage, but we might also suggest you need less coverage in some areas. (See the end of this post for a list of the types of coverage we offer.)
8. Obtain or update your Life Insurance
Life Insurance is one of those things that tends to be neglected yet is so cost-effective — sometimes only $50 or less a month depending on policy limits, your age and your health. Be sure to update your existing Life Insurance policy if you have a major life change such as marriage, divorce or a new child.
9. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance
Making a decision about assisted living or a nursing home for a parent or spouse is not fun, but should you find yourself in that situation, the choice is much easier if you have Long-Term Care Insurance to cover the cost.
10. Ask about your billing options and discounts
Be sure to ask your insurance agent about payment options and discounts, because insurance companies can change them year to year. You may be able to lower your premium prices by paying electronically, paying in advance, paying with fewer installments or bundling your policies. As an independent agency, Leap/Carpenter/Kemps compares those discounts for you as part of our hunt to find you the best premium rates.
11. Add a personal umbrella policy
An umbrella policy basically “reaches over” (hence the name) your Homeowners’, Renters’, Auto and other Personal Insurance policies, providing an extra layer of protection. It is highly recommended as it fills gaps in your coverage and is extremely cost-effective — typically a million dollars in protection for only $150 to $300 a year.
12. Protect your identity
Millions of people have their identities stolen each year. You probably know someone who has been in that situation. Identity theft protection can and should be added to your Personal Insurance. Contact us today if you are not covered in this area. In addition, be sure to regularly (1) change your passwords, (2) back-up your computer and (3) update the antivirus and malware programs on your computer. Also, a free password manager that generates complex passwords for you is an easy, effective way to create more digital security for your family.
That’s it. A handful of easy steps to make sure your Personal Insurance is giving you all the protection you need at the best available price as you head into the new year.
Here’s a list of the types of Personal Insurance offered by Leap/Carpenter/Kemps:
• Renters Insurance
• Homeowners Insurance
• Earthquake Insurance
• Flood Insurance
• Personal Umbrella Insurance
• Insurance for Ride-Share Drivers
• Insurance for Rental Homes
• Boat Insurance
• Watercraft Insurance
• Classic Car Insurance
• Motorcycle Insurance
• Snowmobile Insurance
• Travel Insurance
• ATV Insurance
• Mobile Home Insurance
• RV Insurance