When was the last time you reviewed your insurance coverage? Note that I didn’t mention price, but coverage. Progressive’s “Flo” would have you believe that insurance comes in a white box, and that only the price differentiates one company’s offering from another, but it just isn’t so. An insurance policy is a contract, and the negotiable provisions of that contract can make the difference between a claim that gets paid and a claim that doesn’t.
Here are just a few things to jog your memory. If any of these have happened to you since you’ve reviewed your insurance coverage, it’s probably time to do so.
As a rule, if you’re spending a large amount of money on something, you should probably consider adjusting your insurance coverage. Boats, campers, four-wheelers, new decks, major remodeling of your home — all are occasions to make sure that you’re properly covered.
Love and Marriage
Marriage, divorce, separation, cohabitation — all of these throw a homeowners policy for a bit of a loop. “For better or worse,” the homeowners policy is designed to cover either a single individual or a married couple, and blood relatives who are living in the same household. When that line is blurred, coverage gaps can open up.
- If you’re living with someone but not married to them, then the policy is written in the name of the person who actually owns the home. The person who is not on the deed is not covered for liability, and their personal effects are not covered by the homeowners policy’s property coverage. These issues can be addressed with special policy endorsements. (The forms have proper names, but you can think of it as a “shacking up” endorsement.)
- When you get married, your spouse’s property is added to the total personal property. If you didn’t sit down and discuss it, it may not have occurred to you that your new spouse’s stamp collection (or antique bear trap collection, or jewelry, or whatever) may be worth a significant amount of money. These things sometimes need to be scheduled and appraised to be fully covered.
- Separation has its own issues, especially if divoce proceedings are underway. Who’s really living in the home? Who’s really authorized to make changes to the policy?
That new baby is adorable, but what are the insurance implications of the stork’s arrival?
- Stuff: you’re going to have more of it. If something happened to it, you would need to replace it in a hurry. Is your personal property coverage sufficient?
- Homeowners’ “loss of use” coverage. You and your spouse have found the perfect house to raise your family in. What would you do if your home were damaged and you needed to live somewhere else for a while? Would you have enough “loss of use” coverage to rent another home for a few months while yours was being repaired?
- Life and disability insurance needs. This also applies when you go from single to married, but now that you’ve got a new dependent, what would happen to your family if you — or your income — were no longer around? The birth of a child is a good time to think about this and plan for it with life and disability insurance.
If you think it’s time to give everything a once-over, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.