Consumer Advisory: Insurance Check-up for 2020
There's no time like the present to review your policies and coverage.
DENVER (Feb. 7, 2020) – The stress with end-of-year holidays is past, you’re working on your resolutions and life is getting back to normal. Now is the perfect time to review and evaluate your insurance coverage. Why review and evaluate? Because changing circumstances in your life can mean different insurance needs. Did you have a baby? Get married? Buy a new home or car? Any number of things can cause your insurance needs to change.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), recommends that you take some time to check whether the insurance you have is still the right fit for you. Talk to your insurance agent or company to review your policies and see if they provide the right level of coverage to meet your current needs. Even if you haven't experienced a life changing event, you might find out about new insurance products or discounts.
And if you need help with some of the lingo, want to verify what your insurance company tells you or just want to have a better understanding of the world of insurance, contact the DOI with your questions - 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 (outside the Denver metro area) / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us.
Life insurance needs are very sensitive to people’s changing circumstances. A single 27-year-old renting an apartment will want to look at different coverage than a married 45-year-old with a mortgage and kids. What kind of changes and events are indicators that you may want to change your life insurance coverage?
- Birth / Adoption
- Marriage / Divorce / Remarriage / Death of a spouse
- Getting a mortgage / Paying off a mortgage
- Kids going to or finishing college
For each change or event, you may want more or less coverage. Also, depending on where you are in life, you might consider converting a term life insurance policy (meaning it only lasts a certain term, often a certain age) to a whole life policy, or expand the death benefits to be used while you’re still living. Whatever the change, ask your insurance agent or company about your options. And don’t forget about keeping your life insurance beneficiaries up to date, including name changes and contact information.
When was the last time you re-evaluated your homeowners insurance? Just because you’ve had it a long time doesn’t mean it’s still the right policy for you. Here are some events or considerations that could mean you need to update your coverage.
- You’ve added new features (a deck, a garage, an updated kitchen or bathroom).
- The value of your home has changed, meaning it could cost more or less to replace in the event of a fire or other disaster.
- You have more stuff like electronics, jewelry or antiques.
- The laws in your area have changed, such as your county upgraded building codes or flood mitigation requirements.
- Do you want to change your deductibles? Do you have a separate wind / hail deductible that is different from your other deductible? Are you aware of such a distinction and do you want to make changes to the amounts? Or do you want to change your coverage limits?
- Or maybe you just want to see if you can find a better deal out there and want to look at other insurance companies.
With any of these, you will want to talk to your insurance agent or company about your options. And you are always allowed to look at another agent or company to see even more options.
And don’t forget that spring and summer are just around the corner, and in Colorado that means spring run-off, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, high winds and wildfires. Even if you don’t make changes to your homeowners insurance, now is a good time to become more familiar with your policy, how it works and what is and isn’t covered.
Similar to homeowners insurance, when did you last evaluate your auto insurance to make sure the coverage was right for you? Think of the following as you consider your needs. And for a thorough list of considerations, read "Does your vehicle have the right protection? Best practices for buying auto insurance," an article from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
- As any parent of a teenager can tell you, adding them to your coverage can be expensive. However, there are discounts available for being a good student and other behaviors. Be sure you’re not missing out on any savings.
- Have your kids moved out of the house for college or a job? Depending on their age and how far away they moved, it may be time to take them off of your policy.
- Are you eligible for any discounts because of your age or driving record? Or can you get a discount for taking a safe drivers’ course?
- Make sure your coverage is appropriate for your life situation. Liability is the part of the policy that pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
- Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver (think of a tree limb falling on your car). If you have an older car, it may be worthwhile to consider lowering the amount of this coverage, which could bring your premiums down.
- Think about your deductibles. Are they still right for you, your car and your finances? Raising and lowering deductibles will impact your premiums.
Find more information about your insurance needs and tips for choosing the coverage that is best for you and your family at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Consumer Resources Page. If you have additional questions about insurance, contact the Colorado Division of Insurance - 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 (outside the Denver metro area) / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us or visit dora.colorado.gov/insurance.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit dora.colorado.gov/insurance for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.
DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675.