Rewind… it’s February 2020. You are sitting in an office, a crowded restaurant, maybe planning your wedding, in line drop off your kiddos at school, or even better… you’re in a movie theater. Life is good. Regardless of how much you are in the know about the world around you, you know one thing for sure- it was business as usual.
Fast Forward… its October 2020 and you are more than likely business on the top and yoga pants on the bottom. You are either homeschooling, virtual online learning, or preparing your kids for masks at school. Movie theaters are a thing of the past since all new releases are available on your television for rent or purchase. You are trying to weed through your political Facebook posts, working on personal growth, and adjusting to our life in the new normal.
Normal… whatever that looks like for you, can we all agree that people who don’t do well with change are probably feeling it?
You know how I know? Because I am one of those people (she reheats her coffee for the 3rd time and orders her 14th Instacart grocery order in the last couple months). Change is not for the weak. It is quite possibly the hardest thing we work through as a group of humans.
The way we do “life” has simply just changed.
The way we do “relationships” has simply just changed.
The way we do “business” has simply just changed.
When it comes to the insurance world, our need to change is and will continue to be no different. We as consumers are more educated than we have ever been before. We have access to online quoting, online policy reviews, and online comparisons to multiple insurance companies at the same time. We as an insurance consumer are more in the know than ever before. So what happens when we get thrown a wrench. A wrench like a world wide pandemic such as COVID 19. We too as consumers have to change and with limited resources on how we can protect ourselves and our wallets during this time it was imperative we find new current ways to limit our risk while protecting our families.
COVID-19 And Your Insurance: What You Need To Know When “Normal” Is Gone
In an effort to provide current relative information during these unforeseen times we have put together a quick 5 things to do right now to make sure you are properly insured and keeping as much money in your pocket.
Where are your home and auto insurance policies insured?
You probably just eye rolled me. Trust me I get it. Seems basic right?
However, tis’ not my friends. I know this because I spend the majority of my day quoting home insurance policies for people going through a refinance, new home purchase, or relocation. So it makes sense to me why people would not know where there policies are insured at the quick question of someone asking.
This is where a lot of discounts (more on that later) are both missed and forgotten. It is also a reason that insured’s miss opportunities for deductible combining in regards to claims. It is imperative that we as consumers know where our home and auto insurance policies are located.
Once you have that information, this is where the magic happens.
When was the last time you reviewed your auto and home insurance policies?
If you are like the majority of Americans you don’t find joy in going through your policies and making sure everything is where it should be. Believe it or not insurance doesn’t excite most people (shocking I know).
So how does one do a policy review on their own insurance policies? It’s not as difficult as you would imagine. Let’s go through the basics:
How to Review your homeowners insurance:
- Locate the Dwelling Coverage (Coverage A)- this is the meat and potatoes of the policy. This is going to outline what it would take to replace your home in the event of a total loss (when I say total loss it is important to remember this is NOT Market Value. In the event you had a loss you would still have your land so insurance policies wouldn’t have a need to cover the entire Market Value on your home policy). In a lot of cases Dwelling Coverage automatically increases every renewal- this is based on inflation and higher estimated Replacement Cost Estimate. It is important to make sure to contact your insurance agent and have it reviewed. This will save you money on over insurance and also save you from being under insured.
- In most cases some of the other coverage’s listed, such as Coverage B- Other Structures, Coverage C- Personal Property, and Coverage D- Loss of Use are going to be a percentage of your Dwelling Coverage. These coverage’s will also be modified once you make a change to your Dwelling Coverage.
- Personal Articles Coverage– this is the coverage a lot of consumers miss. It will allow you to protect your precious items such as firearms, jewelry, furs etc. The kicker to this is you can “schedule” them on the policy to provide you with blanket coverage or appraisal value. It will also, in most cases, give you protection against having to pay your deductible if something were to happen to them and/or having coverage missed for potential non covered losses like mysterious disappearance. Some other items you can list would be fine arts, golf equipment, and computer equipment.
- Your policy deductible. This is the amount of money you are going to be responsible for in the event of a claim. After you pay the deductible the insurance company then would be responsible, under the policy guidelines, for the remainder of the claim pay out up to your policy limits. As a consumer we need to make sure that we are both able to commit to the deductible (don’t want to get too crazy with the amount in the event you do need to pay out) and that it makes sense for our family. Another alternative is if you are comfortable taking a higher deductible like a $2500 or a $5000 this can save you on overall annual premium amounts.
- Liability coverage. This is the coverage you would need to protect yourself in the event you are found negligent for anything that would happen while someone is on your property. This is an area you most often can be found at risk for. If you have coverage at the “base” amount of 100,000 you’ll want to make sure to find out how much it would cost you to increase this coverage. It is normally a very minimal cost.
- Truthfully the best and easiest way for you to review your policy is with the guidance of an independent insurance agent.
After reviewing your homeowners insurance you could easily dive into your auto insurance policy. Here are a few steps for review.
How to Review your auto insurance:
- Locate the liability limits on your auto insurance. This is normally the very first “located on top” coverage. In the State of Arizona we normally list this coverage as a per person/total occurrence break down. Example: 250,000 per person/500,000 total occurrence. To find out if you are carrying enough visit our article here for review.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This is going to cover you in the event you are injured in and accident by someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to coverage your bodily injury claim. This coverage is often missed due to cost. The best way to determine a fit for your family is to reach out to your agent and discuss your possible exposure.
- Comprehensive and Collision Deductibles. Much like your home insurance deductible there are ways to cut cost while providing adequate coverage for your family. Increasing a deductible is one of those options. Deductibles allow the insured to take on more of the risk (monies in this case) to lower their auto insurance premiums.
- Medical Payments. This is what we so lovingly call the “no fault coverage”. This coverage provides medical payment coverage to you in the event you are in an accident regardless of fault. This tends to be a more expensive coverage in some states and can be excluded if it does not fit your needs. Review this with your insurance agent to make sure what is best for you and your family in your state.
- 12 month vs. 6 month policies. Depending on the company you are with you can have the option to select a 6 month premium renewal or an annual. In some cases it might be best to secure your rate for an annual term. Where as in others who have tickets, violations, or any other circumstances that may result in a rate decrease after 6 months it might be best to carry a 6 month policy. This is truly what works best for your family.
Are your home and auto insurance in the same place?
The advantages to having both your home and auto insurance policies together are listed in our article [Spoiler Alert]: Here Are The REAL Reasons You Should Bundle Your Home and Auto Insurance.
What are “telematics” and are we missing the window by not using them?
A lot of insurance companies have now hopped on the bandwagon of “telematics”. You also may recognize the terms of discount tracking, Right Track devices, or Agent Go apps. These are devices/apps you download and use to track mileage and driving behavior. Currently in the world where most Americans are in some form or fashion working from home, this might benefit you in displaying new low mileage behaviors.
Example: In February 2020 I purchased a new vehicle (yes me personally). Normally I range between 11,000-15,000 miles per year. Since I have purchased my vehicle I have put 4,816 miles on my car. It is October 2020. I am now eligible for a 19 % rate decrease due to my tracking through the use of a telematics device.
If you have been back and forth on if a device or an app can help you save on your current driving behaviors, now is the time.
Should I be looking to switch my personal insurance policies?
In a time of change and unknown it is always another level of adventure when we decide to shake things up.
My first recommendation would always be to figure out your most important need before making a change. For some that might look like a lower rate where for others they might be left with too much exposure. Jumping ship on your current insurance policy can also have it’s consequences. Items like lose of tenure, loss of deductible rewards, and switching while being surcharged for violations can have detriment to your coverage and bank account. It is best to have your policy handy and to review it with an independent insurance agent before making the change.
In a time where life is ever changing, the best thing that you can do is be proactive in making sure that you are both covered and safe. Our family here at Integrity Insurance Services wishes both you and your family health and safety in not just these current times but in the times to come.