So you have homeowners insurance, that is great. But what about the valuables inside your home? Did you know that most policies only $1,500 in the event of a loss of your valuables? This is not enough to cover such items as jewelry, furs, art, stamp collections, baseball cards or your grandmother’s pearl necklace in the event of a loss.
So how do you make sure that you are covered for your important collections and high value possessions?
- Take Note: Make an inventory of your possessions. Consider making a video of these items rather than trying to catalog every single item. Either make sure this list is up to date for such events as valuable Christmas gifts and items you add to your collection over time.
- Appraise: You may want to have a professional appraisal periodically to find the value of the items you have such as gold, silverware etc…this will not only help you decide how much coverage you need but also speed up the claims process in the event of a loss.
- Communicate: Let your agent know about important collectibles and other high value property items . When your agent know what you have they can discuss any coverage restrictions and the what you may need to make sure you have proper coverage.
- Get Coverage: Talk to agent about scheduling your higher values collectibles, collections, and personal property. This endorsement is attached to your homeowners policy and provides additional coverage to make sure you have adequate coverage on these items in the event of a loss. This will result in an additional charge but it provides broader coverage. In most cases you can get this without a deductible.
Here are some common traps policy holders fall into that can cause premiums to increase or make you realize later that you do not have the right coverage. Avoid these common policy pitfalls and turn frown on your insurance policies upside down.
This will also provide some insight into things you need to think about related to your policy as well as policy offenses to avoid that negatively effect your policy and consequently your premium.
- Late Payments- if you do not pay your policies on time and your policy lapses or cancels you’ll be facing a higher rate when you buy another policy. Life Insurance policy lapses are even more costly, as this is a policy that you qualify for you may not be able to replace the policy nor at the same price.
- Don’t give the Ex the “X”- don’t forget to change the beneficiary from your ex spouse to your current spouse. Legally, the benefits have to be paid to the listed beneficiary. Talk about family drama.
- Not sharing important facts- don’t “lose” a insurance policy for your family. tell your beneficiaries who your life insurance is with so they will have this when the time comes.
- Fail to take advantage of open enrollment for health insurance- Don’t miss this chance to add or remove dependents from your health plan, This is also the time to change deductibles and other coverage options. You can also make the individual plan a family plan.
- Adding the addition to the health plan-When your child your child is born you have 30 days to add the baby to your health plan or you will be paying all of their healthcare out of pocket.
- The new car secret- That new car is only covered for a short period of time with your broadest coverage on already owned autos. If you don’t let your agent know you will be without coverage in a few weeks.
- Drive for Uber- be careful when you agree to use your personal vehicle with traditional coverage for commercial purposes. This is considered business use and must have a commercial policy to be covered.
- Get a DUI-drinking and driving will hit your insurance policy hard. It will not only increase your rate by a large amount if you have a prior offense you will not keep the policy. This will put you in a non-standard market which will raise your rate even higher. Yet another reason to call the taxi and not drink and drive.
- Loaning the car out- Keep in mind coverage follows the car, you are responsible for what happens to the vehicle when you lend the car to family or friends.
- Small Claims- Making a claim for every little scratch and dent can cost you. Don’t bother making claims for damage less than your deductible. Piling up small claims can cause a big increase in your policy premium.
- Neglecting Home Inventory-Not having a items list or recorded home inventory can cost you in the event of a large home claim(ex: fire or tornado), it is hardto recall from memory all the items of value which means you will not be reimbursed for them.
- Review your insurance policies every year- this goes back to the insurance resolutions post earlier this month. Failing to do this can result in being over or under insured. Insurance needs change.
Entering auto thefts happen frequently and are most often a crime of opportunity. Meaning that this occurs when doors are unlock or windows are open. Keeping that in mind here are some tips to prevent these types of auto theft.
- While at home use a garage to store your vehicle. Make sure all doors are locked and windows are closed even when at home.
- Remove items/valuable from plain view. Examples of this are loose change, purses, electronics and other items of value.
- Always park in public areas that are frequented by pedestrians. Avoid parking in isolated areas.
- Secure items on a truck such as the tool box, trunk and hatches.
- If you hear anything suspicious such as shattering glass, call 911. Same goes for if you see someone looking into cars.
Have you looked at your policies lately? It is important to recognize that your insurance needs change over time as you change vehicles, jobs, add to your family and grow older.
When you do need to use the insurance that you pay for, you do not want to learn later that you do not have enough insurance.
Conversely, you want to make sure you are not carrying too much insurance and are not missing some potential savings.
These are some useful tips and resolutions to keep in mind related to your insurance policie this new year.
- Review Vehicle Usages: Make sure your policy accurately reflects how your vehicle is being used. How often do you use the sports car? Is it designated for leisure use? Is your vehicle older than 10 years, perhaps you do not need full coverage (comprehensive and collision) on the vehicle since the insurance company only pays for repairs up to the value of your car. Most importantly make sure you are driving carefully out there since the premium you pay for your auto insurance is largely determined by driving record.
- Inventory: The new year is a great time to update an inventory of your possessions. You will need an accurate list is you have a home insurance claims. You may have received holiday presents or there are new items in your house such as a flat-screen TV. If you do not want to write everything down a popular way of documenting you belonging is by video recording. You may want to cover some of these items individually through a rider or personal articles policy if they are high value items. Also make sure the coverage on your home is high enough to rebuilding your home with today’s construction prices.
- Life Savings: You could be able to reduce life insurance rates if you have followed through or follow through on your New Years resolutions of losing weight, quit smoking, or are able to come off some previous medications.
- Know where you live: If your home is listed on a flood plan, Resolve to get flood insurance coverage this year. Homeowners and Renters policies do not cover flooding.
Winter weather can be treacherous for the holiday driving season for several reasons. Not only is weather a factor but also the potholes and poor road conditions are contributed for at least $27 billion in claims and out of pocket consumer expenses in the last five years, according to a 2014 survey commissioned by Trusted Choice.
This same survey also found that 31% of car owners with pothole damage reported a claim to their insurance company while 65% who needed repairs paid out of pocket with a bill over $500.
Snow, ice and freezing rain in the winter months contribute to both poor road condition and accident hazards that impact insurance rates, as premiums are determined by past claims.Potholes and poor road conditions are not only inconvenient but also an expensive bi-product of harsh winters.
It is for these reasons that drivers are encourages to be cautious throughout winter while taking on the roads for holiday traveling.
Here are some safety tips on both topics addressed above
- Pothole Safety
- Keep an eye out: If you see other cars slowing, swerving, or moving lanes quickly. This could indicate a major pothole or road damage.
- Report it: Report these road hazards to your state or local transportation department.
- Avoid: Avoid the urge to swerve to miss the pothole at the last minute, this could swerve you into the path of an oncoming vehicle. This is much more dangerous than resulting damage from the pothole.
- Document it: Treat it like a collision. If you suspect that you hit a pot hole, pull over to photograph, document damage and call in the claim.
- Cover it: Check in with your agent to make sure you have the appropriate coverages for this event.
- Winter Driving Safety
- Keep your cell phone full charges
- Keep a windshield scraper in your vehicle
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season
- Use lukewarm water to pour windshield if it is frozen, never hot as it could crack
- In the event your are stuck on the road, have a “winter car kit” available.
- Winterize your car by having a mechanic check the vehicle for any warning signs that any systems are compromised that would impede winter travel
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!!
To compliment this week’s radio show with Ray and Lynn. Here are some perks that make Independent Insurance Agents stand out from captive agents. These perks can help offer the most options, best fit and most positive impact on the wallet.
- Independent Insurance agents are, independent, this means they do not represent just one company but numerous companies that they trust to offer the best solutions for their customers… Not limited to one company and their offerings. (Captive Agents represent one company)
- They do the shopping, the customer does not have to shop around to compare rates. The agent will do this for you, get the best rate, coverage and you can get all of your policies through one agency, in one place.
- An Independent Insurance Agent has “your best interest” in mind. They are not tied to one company so they will look for the best company, coverage and price for you and your needs. This creates a sense of trust in your agent, which is the most important attribute you need in your insurance agent.
- Independent agents have professionals in both Commercial and Personal Lines of business, if you own a business, you can have both your personal and business lines policies at one agency.
WTM is a Trusted Choice Independent Agent that has been in business since 1970. To hear more information regarding the above be sure to tune into 1160am as Ray Williams and Lynn Mathis further discuss this topic.