While New Year’s resolutions to eat better, smoke less and exercise more might have already gone by the wayside, there’s one resolution that it’s not to late to keep.
Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron has suggested starting off the new year by reviewing your insurance coverage.
“From homeowners or renter’s insurance to auto and health coverage, policy holders should review their policies to make sure everything is up to date and properly covered,” Boron said. “Talk with your insurance agent to determine if you need to make changes to your policies.”
For example, Boron said the holidays are a good time to update your home inventory for your homeowners/renter’s insurance. He recommended adding any new gifts to the inventory, including details and possibly taking a photo of each item.
Other recommendations included reviewing auto Insurance deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage, and making sure you have a copy of your insurance card and your insurance agent or company’s number in the car.
For some local insurance agents, January isn’t necessarily the best time to review insurance coverage. Jud Scott, agency manager with Dimond Bros. Insurance Agency, said in many cases the best time is when it’s time to renew the coverage.
But there are still benefits to looking at your insurance coverage.
“It always pays dividends to sit down with your insurance agent and review your coverage,” Scott said.
For example, homeowners should make sure they didn’t build anything like a new garage and forget to insure it. There are also issues with teenagers driving or the purchase of new vehicles.
“It slips their mind when they buy something new that they should contact their insurance agent,” Scott said.
One of the best insurance moves people could make not just now, but any time of the year, is to purchase renters insurance. Scott said many renters, especially young people, don’t think they need insurance. He said he has insured residents at a lot of apartment complexes throughout the years, and he’s seen these young renters when he’s gone to the scene after an apartment fire.
“They’re standing outside crying, saying, ‘I’ve lost everything,’’” he said.
Scott said an average tenant’s policy costs between $10 and $15 per month to cover contents and liability. That’s affordable coverage when you consider most young people have a big screen television, and the cost of replacing all of their clothing could run into thousands of dollars.
Mike Morris, insurance representative for Country Insurance, also said January isn’t necessarily the best time, but the important thing is to review your insurance coverage on a regular basis.
“If your situation has changed, your policies need to reflect that,” he said.
For Morris, one of the best insurance moves people can make is to consider long-term care coverage.
“The people who are 50 don’t want to think they need it ... because they’re 50,” he said.
But long-term care coverage must be bought while the purchaser is healthy.
“If you wait until you need it, you can’t get it,” he said.
Morris recommended 50-somethings talk to their agent to see if long-term care coverage is a good idea for them. He said that while 50 year olds will be paying for the insurance for more years, it’s worth it because the premiums are generally lower.
If people choose not to review their coverage this month, Morris suggested they do it right before their birthdays.
“So many of the policies we write are age-based,” he said. “So you should come in the month before your birthday.”
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