Few New Year’s resolutions are as important as getting your insurance coverage in order. Insurance provides you and your loved one’s financial security and peace of mind should anything in your life go wrong. Here are a few practical actions you should take to ensure your life insurance policy is working for you as it should.
Look Over Your Policies
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your insurance policies so you understand them and know how to make a claim. Home or automotive insurance often have a declarations page to look over. For health insurance, review the summary of benefits. Consult with an insurance agent if you need help.
Improve Your Credit Score
Bad credit can negatively affect you in a variety of ways, from raising your interest rates on credit cards and loans, increasing your car insurance rate, to hurting your chances of getting an apartment, to getting denied a job. The worse your credit is, the more of a risk you pose to an insurer. To improve credit, always pay your bills on time and make a plan to try and pay down your debt.
Create a Home Inventory List
If a natural disaster or fire damages your house and your belongings, it’s important to know exactly what you owned so you don’t forget anything when filling out the claim. Unfortunately, nearly half of all homeowners don’t have an inventory of what they own. Fix that by making a list of all the items in your house before a disaster occurs. Be sure to store a copy in at least two separate locations, either physically or digitally (or both), so the list isn’t lost in a disaster.
Be Mindful of Your Policy Renewal Dates
You can typically find your renewal dates on your paper policy documents, at your insurance company website or through their app. Insurance companies will also send out renewal notices in advance, so make sure to open any letters you might receive from them. If you’ve opted for paperless billing, you should receive an email notification. A policy renewal date is also a great reminder to look at your coverage and consider changes.
Let Your Life Insurance Beneficiaries Know About Your Policy
Every year, billions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed because beneficiaries don’t know about the policies or where to find them. To claim money when you die, your beneficiaries don’t require a policy in hand to make a claim, but they do need to know which insurer you purchased insurance from. Check in with your life insurance agent to find out exactly what information your beneficiaries need to have.
Pay for Insurance in Advance
Many people pay for their insurance coverage monthly, but you can save yourself a substantial amount of money by paying six months or a year up front. If you can’t afford to do that right now, make a savings plan so you can pay more in advance next year.
Consult Your Agent
Sitting down with an expert at least once a year will give you an opportunity to get updates on policy changes or discover new coverage options that may work better for you and your family. Your life may have changed in the past year, requiring new strategies for coverage. Perhaps you collected an inheritance. Maybe you had a child. Life changes like these will require an update to your policies. You can make changes yourself, but why not talk with an agent to figure out the best way to do so.