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Tips on when to review your insurance policy

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Nov 21, 2017 8:00:00 AM

insurance-policy.jpgWhat do you do when your policy arrives? My guess is if you’re like most people, you take a glance and then file it away until it’s needed.


Because life is constantly changing, reviewing your policy more frequently is wise. Here are some times when you should check your policy.

1. Policy Renewal.

When you receive your renewal, ask yourself the following questions.
  • Is there any documentation from the insurance company that indicates a coverage change?
  • Does it make sense to increase my deductible to save money?
  • Do I need additional policies such as flood, earthquake, or an umbrella policy?
  • Do I qualify for discounts? At West Bend, we offer discounts for
    • Safe and accident free drivers;
    • New and updated homes;
    • Multi-car families;
    • Resident students; and
    • Anti-lock brakes.

2. Do it yourself projects (DIY).

If you’ve lived in your home for a while and decide, it’s time to make some upgrades to your home, don’t forget about how those changes could affect your insurance. Kitchens and bathrooms are often the focus of many DIY home remodeling projects. Expanding their size or installing more expensive materials could cause your home to be underinsured if it’s a total loss.

In addition, don’t forget about improvements outside your home. In my neighborhood, gazebos, pergolas, and hot tubs are popular. In addition, a new shed may be needed to store new toys in your garage, such as a boat or motorcycle.

Lastly, a new roof is a significant investment. Many insurance carriers charge more for homeowners insurance if a roof is older. Replacing the roof could change your coverage from actual cash value to replacement cost. Replacement cost provides the coverage you need to replace your roof, while actual cash value provides coverage for the value of the roof at the time it’s replaced; it takes into account the depreciation of the shingles.

All these changes should be reported to your insurance agent.

3. Other improvements made to your home.

Contact your agent if you’ve updated any major home systems, i.e., heating, plumbing, or electrical. In addition, if you’ve installed a fire/burglar alarm system that’s monitored by professionals in a call center, discounts may be available.


4. Lifestyle changes.

Is life throwing curve balls your way? Kids leaving or returning home after college or elderly parents moving into your home can affect your insurance policy. In addition, so can a recent marriage, divorce, or sudden death of a spouse.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.

Topics: Home Insurance, Auto Insurance

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