Don’t Wait for a Claim to Discover What Coverage You Have

An annual review of your insurance policies can not only keep you apprized of your coverage, but also help you understand your coverage. An annual review could also yield opportunities to reduce the cost of coverage. After all, who wants to pay more than they have to for coverage? Make sure you know your deductibles and available discounts.

Often insurance policies are difficult to understand because of the contractual language embedded in the policy. And all too often the insurance agent doesn’t have the skill sets to break down the coverage from all the legalese. But some insurance companies include a summary statement, which is a digest of the policy provisions written for the consumer. Watch this segment on covering the Perform a Checkup on Your Insurance Coverage, part three of five from Lessons Not Learned about Money with syndicated financial columnist, award-winning investor educator and co-author of “How Mutual Funds Work” and “Building Our Mutual Fund Portfolio,” Russ Wiles.

First: Consider purchasing term life insurance for the wage earners in your household. If you’re relatively healthy, term life insurance is very affordable and a great way to protect your family from economic tragedy due to a death of one or both of the breadwinners.

Second: Consider purchasing umbrella coverage. It might be wise to take out an umbrella policy, especially to guard against underinsured/uninsured motorist claims and your own teenage drivers in your household. The good news is these policies are relatively inexpensive and can be a real benefit for pennies on the dollar.

Third: Consider separate polices or a rider on your homeowner’s insurance policy for jewelry, musical equipment, family heirlooms and other valuables. Homeowners’ insurance may not cover the specific value of these items, so it’s best to be sure. Take pictures of all your household items in your home, garage and property. If you decide to be ambitious and create an inventory of all that you own, you should go the final step and make a will and trust.

Fourth: Consider the proper coverage for all your vehicles. One way to determine the necessary coverage is to secure multiple quotes that outline the coverage and itemize the costs. Then you can request an explanation of the various coverages and customize your car insurance. The basic items of auto coverage are liability insurance, medical payment, physical damage and uninsured/underinsured motorist.
Annual reviews should include all “life events” like birth of a child, sale of car, second homes, anything major that has changed since the last review. Keeping track of your insurance may save you money and leave no surprises if you have a claim.

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews Russ Wiles, syndicated financial columnist, award-winning excellence in investor education and co-author of How Mutual Funds Work and Building our Mutual Fund Portfolio. This week’s show topic, Lessons Not Learned About Money. Right on the Money is a weekly financial talk show for consumers, distributed as video press releases to 280 media outlets and social media networks nationwide.