Spring Cleaning for Your Insurance Policies

Spring may be the traditional time of year for cleaning out closets and drawers, but it is also a great time to review your current insurance policies.

“Just as it is important to look at your wardrobe and other personal items to see what needs to be tossed, updated or stored for the coming months, everyone should do a thorough evaluation of their insurance coverage at least once a year,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, the Insurance Information Institute’s SVP and Chief Communications Officer. “So why not make a policy review part of your spring cleaning ritual?”

As your life changes so do your insurance needs.

Instead of just dusting around the corners of your insurance policies this year, take the time to read them over and ask yourself the following key questions:

Do I Have Enough Life Insurance?

Have any significant life changes occurred since the last time you updated your life insurance policy? If so, now would be a good time to adjust your policy accordingly.

Life changes may include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Child or grandchild being born or adopted
  • Significant changes in your health or your spouse’s health
  • Taking on the financial responsibility of an aging parent or relative
  • Purchasing a new home
  • Caring for a loved one who requires long-term care
  • Refinancing your home
  • Coming into an inheritance

Is My Home Covered for its Full Rebuilding Cost?

Review your homeowners policy to make sure that you have enough insurance to rebuild your home if need be.

If you have made any major improvements to your home – such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch or expanding an existing room – you risk being underinsured if you don’t adjust your policy accordingly.

In addition, if you don’t yet have a separate flood insurance policy, now would be the time to check whether your home is in a flood risk zone at FloodSmart.gov.

Do I Have Enough Coverage for Expensive Items?

Have you recently bought or received any valuable jewelry since you purchased/renewed your policy? Or, when was the last time you had your items appraised?

Standard homeowners insurance has dollar limits for the theft of certain types of expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware. This means that the insurer will only pay the amount specified in the policy – generally $1,000 to $2,000.

To insure these items to their full dollar value, consider a special personal property endorsement or floater. This coverage includes “accidental disappearance,” meaning coverage if you simply lose that item – and there is no deductible.

But keep in mind that items like this can go up or down in value. Floaters and endorsements are priced on the appraised value of an item or collection. Have periodic reappraisals done to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Do I Still Need Comprehensive/Collision On My Car?

If you are driving a car that is worth less than $1,000 – or less than 10 times the insurance premium – the optional coverage may no longer be cost effective. If this is the case, consider dropping either comprehensive or collision.

What Kind of Vacations Will I Be Taking This Year?

If you are taking an expensive, pre-paid vacation or an active vacation such as biking or hiking in an exotic location, travel insurance can help protect the financial investment of your vacation.

The moral of the story – whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall – plan a regular talk with your insurance professional so he or she can help you get the coverage you need and update any important information.

Want to learn more about life insurance? Read our article The Most Frequently Asked Life Insurance Questions.

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