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As your life changes, so do your insurance needs. Here’s a short list of life changes that may trigger a review of your insurance coverage:
Some agencies offer lower rates for married couples and domestic partnerships, so you should mention your new status. If you’re moving from two houses into one, take an inventory of all your belongings and look at your property coverage to see if you need to upgrade. Couples with two cars might consider consolidating under a single multi-car policy.
Then, take a look at both of your health insurance policies to determine which one will best fit your needs for the future of your family. Once you’ve chosen a policy, let your employer know about the change. In most cases, you won’t have to wait until open enrollment rolls around to make the switch. If you have life insurance, make sure the beneficiary designation is up to date.
When you have a baby, you’ll want to add him or her to your health insurance policy as soon as possible. If you don’t have life insurance yet, this may be the time to take the plunge. When you’re trying to figure out how much life insurance to buy, consider something that would cover the loss of your income.
If you’ve made major improvements to your home, such as enclosing a porch or remodeling a kitchen, you risk being underinsured if you do not report the increase in square footage to your insurance company. If you’ve increased the value of your personal possessions, such as upgrading to the newest flat screen TV or purchasing new jewelry or artwork, you might consider having a rider on your homeowners policy that provides extra coverage for these items.
If your teen is ready to drive, make sure you add him/her to your auto policy. It’s usually more economical to add to your policy, rather than purchase a separate policy. Consider raising your liability insurance above the state minimum, or purchasing an umbrella liability policy. If your teen moves more than 100 miles away to go to college and doesn’t have a car on campus, you may be eligible for a discount.
You can keep your children on your health insurance policy when you send them off to college. Another good idea is to check if their schools offer a student health insurance program that may be more affordable. This is also a good time to consider renters insurance. Having a laptop or a bicycle stolen could impact a student’s academic performance, so being able to quickly replace those items is key.
Ask detailed questions about your new company’s benefits and find out when your new coverage begins. If you find you’ll experience a gap in coverage, talk to your previous employer about receiving continued coverage from their plan. This is generally referred to as the COBRA option.
By asking the right questions, you can make sure that you and your family are protected as you navigate major changes in your life.
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