Most people reach out to their insurance brokers or underwriters when there is a significant event in their lives that necessitates new or revised risk coverage – perhaps when they purchase a new home or it’s time to trade-in the old car. However, far fewer remember to review their insurance at regular intervals or when more subtle changes to their coverage requirements occur.
Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.
There are many different circumstances that could possibly change your coverage requirements and prompt a call to an insurance professional for a review. The examples below identify some of the instances in which you might want to review your coverage:
- Renovations – If you perform renovations to your house, it is likely that you are also increasing its value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or even expensive landscaping, remember to check your policy limits to ensure they remain adequate in case of an insured loss. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, also note it is quite likely that your water damage insurance needs to be reviewed.
- You’ve been accumulating possessions – Have you done a home inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your contents is vital to helping ensure your limits are adequate.
- You’ve purchased a high value item – Remember that some of your personal possessions have to be scheduled to be properly covered. Jewellery, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are a few examples of pieces that may require additional coverage.
- New coverages have become available – The insurance industry frequently adapts to changing market conditions and offers coverage in areas that it has not in the past. For homeowners, insurance for overland water damage and home repair issues (such as broken furnaces) have recently become available from some insurers, in some areas. In addition, legal expense insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are available from brokers looking to cover more of your risk and insurance needs.
- Laws changing to give you more or less choice – Changes to automobile accident benefits mean you should review your choices.
- You become eligible for additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system you are likely eligible for a discount on your homeowner policy. If you use snow tires on your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance policy. If you pass the age of 50-55, you may become eligible for mature driver discounts.
- If you change jobs and have a shorter commute – You should report this to your insurance broker as driving less typically correlates to lower risk and less expensive premiums. If you have a certain job occupation, you may also be eligible for lower insurance rates.
- You’ve started a home business – A different use of your home, other than strictly residential, may require business insurance to properly cover liability risks.
- Your personal circumstances change – If you get married or have children, you may want to review your coverage to ensure your coverage levels are adequate to look after your dependents in case of an accident.
- Your child gets a driver’s licence – Always check to see if your child can be added to your policy. It is often the least expensive option for insuring them to drive. If they get their own car, you are also probably eligible for a multi-car discount.
- If your child moves away to attend college or university – Check to see if your homeowners coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away at school. It may be more cost-effective that purchasing a standalone tenants insurance policy.
- If you haven’t had an insurance review in more than a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. A key example of this is your home insurance. Property values and replacement costs can easily rise to the point that your existing coverage limits do not allow for the total reconstruction of your home in the case of a total loss.
Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always time well spent. Even if you don’t save on your insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies are for the term of one-year, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance professional before renewing your annual coverage.