Happy New Year. Hopefully, you've survived the holidays and look with optimism toward 2005. As you begin to take an inventory of the areas you want to work on-health, education, faith, etc.-I want to add insurance review. The first of the year is a good time to take a look at the many areas for which you may need insurance protection. Here are a few.
- Personal lines. Over the holiday season, we celebrate with gifts for family members. Many times, these may need to be added to your homeowner's policy. If you received a piece of jewelry, talk with your agent to see if it needs to be added to a jewelry floater. Policies can also have limitations to sporting goods and guns, so make sure you review those limits. Our technology keeps increasing, and our purchases cost more to replace. Expensive electronics are another item to review with your insurance professional. If you've made additions or changes to your home over the past year, those could warrant an increase in your policy limit. On the auto side, you may have changed vehicles or need to see if you really need to be paying for full coverage on an older unit. If you have children heading off to college without a vehicle, you may be eligible for some savings. Carriers may offer discounts if your child is more than 100 miles away from home for college.
- Life insurance. Many people buy a life insurance policy when they get married or have children and then file it away. Does that policy still cover all of your current and future needs? How long ago did those things happen in your life? The life insurance industry is experiencing some of the lowest rates of all time. It would probably be worth a life insurance checkup.
- Health insurance. The first of the year provides a wonderful opportunity to make sure you understand your deductibles, co-pays, and health reimbursement accounts, or health savings accounts. Enrollment periods are very strict with health carriers, and you don't want to miss the window for making changes to your plans. Employers constantly change benefits, and not understanding your coverage can be costly.
- Commercial business. With some of the changes President Bush has signed in the last few years, many companies have had the flexibility to deduct more of their purchases within each tax year. This has spurred business owners to acquire more equipment to help stimulate the economy by growing their operations. Owners need to make sure they've added this new equipment to insurance policies so they don't find themselves underinsured.
These are just a few ideas to think about as you take a 2005 insurance inventory. Please contact your local insurance professional for help with any of these topics. IBI