When was the last time you met with your Property & Casualty Insurance agent? Here’s why you should get to know them.
For many of us, our insurance agent is a name on an insurance card, the person we would call if we were ever involved in an accident or if we had a claim to file. The reason we need to get to know our agent is so that they can get to know us and therefore ensure that we are insured appropriately.
I recently spent about an hour in my insurance agent’s office to complete a thorough review of my insurance coverage. A higher than anticipated homeowner’s invoice is what prompted me to initiate this session.
The agent’s office was more than willing to meet and discuss the policy in detail. We reviewed all the details of our home, including square footage, floor coverings (hardwood, carpet, tile), upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor improvements (screened porches, outdoor kitchens), as well as the basics of how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. were in the house. After about 50 detailed questions, I felt that my insurer had a much more accurate picture of our home and could therefore tailor our coverage to these specifics. My goal in all of this was to have the correct coverage in place to fully protect our family if a serious claim were made. I also wanted to ensure I wasn’t paying for coverage that wasn’t appropriate.
A few other items to consider as you review your policies with your agent.
- Make sure you understand the specific coverage you hold to understand if it covers full replacement or actual value of an item.
- Review all vehicles as well as the drivers associated with them, to make sure that these are correct to tie the right driver to the right vehicle and purpose.
- Understand if there is a need for flood insurance on your property. Just because you don’t live by a river doesn’t mean you couldn’t be flooded.
- Add septic backup coverage to your homeowner’s policy. This is an insignificant additional cost and a godsend if ever needed.
- Review the contents of your home for any jewelry, artwork, or antiques which might require an additional rider to fully cover these in the event of loss. General homeowner’s policies are limited in their coverage for these items.
- Don’t skimp on coverage to save a few dollars. Make sure you adequately insure to protect your family in the event of loss.
- Consider your deductibles and at what level you would actually file a claim. Then talk with your agent to see if a higher deductible results in significant savings. Sometimes the savings are not worth the higher deductible, so it is wise to explore this item.
- If you don’t have an umbrella liability policy in place, talk to your agent about adding at least $1 million. This policy covers above and beyond the underlying liability limits on your individual policies and can act to protect your assets in the event of a large liability settlement against you.
Instead of simply paying the increasing premium the next time your insurance policy comes due for renewal, make an appointment to speak with your agent and delve into the details. A little time spent in discussion with them can go a long way toward making the insurance coverage you hold both appropriate for your situation and very valuable as a risk reduction tool for your family.