Does this mean that I have to immediately call my insurance agent every time I buy a new piece of furniture or my cousin Tammy moves in for 6 months? Not necessarily. While more significant changes should be reported immediately (such as getting married or getting a new car), items such as improving your home entertainment system or upgrading your car's sound system, can be reported at your annual insurance review. Insurance agents reach out to their clients because they want to check up on possible changes and help avoid any gaps in their clients' coverage. However, it's equally important for a policyholder to reach out to their agent to make sure they are covered for any major life changes. If one agent handles all of your coverage, this task is relatively easy. Jot down any changes that have occurred over the last year, even if you're not sure whether they are significant enough to mention. Doing so will ensure that all of your insurance policies are best suited to your current life situation.
Some examples of changes that should be mentioned to your agent immediately are listed below. Ask yourself these questions every year:
- Have I gotten married or divorced?
- Have I had a new baby, or adopted a child?
- Is anyone in my house a new driver?
- Is anyone living with me who wasn't before? Will they ever be driving any of my vehicles?
- Do I have a personal umbrella policy? Do I need one?
- Have I purchased any new properties?
- Have I started a home business?
- Have I purchased new furniture, electronics, or fine jewelry?
These are just a few examples of life changes that are often picked up during an annual review. However, there are other changes that can affect your coverage as well, so be thorough when documenting and reporting items to your agent.
Some of the above examples might seem pretty obvious. Most people know that if their teenager gets his license, they need to notify their auto insurance carrier. However, not everything is as obvious. For example, take a couple who just had their first child. They decide that it's time to purchase life insurance to provide for the child if something ever happens to them. This couple is doing the responsible thing. They understand the importance of buying life insurance when starting a family. But what about three years later when baby #2 is born? Or babies #3, #4 and #5 that come along over the enxt several years? It's just as important to update beneficiary information otherwise #1 is the only child that gets the money if mom and dad are struck by lightning. This particular tale might seem slightly "tall," but beneficiary issues create havoc, legal battles, and misdirected money on a daily basis. Sometimes it's to the tune of thousands, other times it's to the tune of millions. Protect yourself, your family, and your personal belongings by making sure that each of your insurance policies gets an annual check-up. You'll rest much better once you do. Call 800-922-8381, click or come into our Whitinsville or Grafton offices for a free review.
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