Change is the only constant in life and when your life changes, so do your insurance needs. The complexity of the industry isn’t always easy to grasp, making it unclear what kind of insurance protection fits at a particular moment in your life, whether we’re talking about you, your family or your business. Since the needs of a bigger family are different from those of a single person, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask your insurance company at various life events.
- Fresh out of school, new to the workforce. What do I need?
Once you leave your parent’s home to rent your own apartment, you’re no longer covered by your parent’s homeowner policy. You will need your own renters insurance to cover your belongings. In what auto insurance is concerned, even though you may be tempted to purchase a bare bones policy (thinking that this way you will save money), you might want to reconsider—this is a risky decision as it might not give you sufficient protection. Get a policy that offers coverage for all the damages, otherwise your savings and future wages could take a hit.
- Someone I know was sued after a car accident. How can I protect myself against something of the kind?
Your insurance policy already includes liability coverage, but remember that state minimums are almost never enough for most drivers. A light liability coverage puts you and your belongings at risk. This is where the Personal Catastrophe Liability coverage (also known as “umbrella insurance”) adds an extra layer of protection over your auto and home insurance in the unpleasant event that you or a covered family member are sued. It is most useful for those who own many or very expensive assets.
- I have a home-based business. What kind of coverage do I need?
Under certain circumstances, a home-operated business in which risks are minimal, a low-cost rider may be added to your homeowners’ policy to cover damage to your business’ assets. However, some insurers will refuse to cover your business if you do have customers, employees or clients over to your house. Coverage may also not apply to expensive equipment or inventory used or stored on the premises, as well as if hazardous or combustible materials are used or stored on the premises. In this case, they may ask you to purchase a separate policy. Be sure to include in your annual budget the cost of insurance.
- My family is changing/growing, what coverage should I consider?
If you live in a rental, first review your renters insurance policies. You’ll be combining homes so it’s no use to keep them both. Here you can read more in-depth information on married life and insurance. If you’ll be living in your own property, keep in mind that a typical homeowners policy covers personal belongings and furnishings up to a certain amount. those expensive items you have at home, a diamond ring or expensive gear, will need either higher policy limits or extra coverage. Furthermore, if you have a teenager in your home who is learning to drive, you’ll need additional auto insurance once they’re licensed.
- I’m remodeling my home; do I need additional insurance?
Remodeling projects usually increase the value of a property. When they do, you need to adjust your insurance coverage so your home reconstruction cost is protected. However, before you start revamping your place, call your agent and let them know about your plans, especially if you’re planning on doing the work yourself, as some remodeling projects if not undertaken correctly may void your homeowners policy. If you plan on working with a general contractor, before you sign a contract for the project, make sure they are licensed and have a surety bond. This comes handy in the rare event the GC can’t finish the job for whatever reason (illness or bankruptcy); the surety bond will cover any financial losses you might incur in getting the job done.
Another aspect to remember