How to Optimize Your Insurance Coverage for the New Year – and Beyond

An Independent Agent Explains:

How to Optimize Your Insurance Coverage for the New Year – and Beyond

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This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on Safeco.com showcasing the expertise of independent insurance agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverages and issues.

Most all of us, around this time of the year, make a resolution or two for the New Year – drop 10 pounds, stop smoking, eat healthy, save money, etc. Sound familiar?

They’re the standbys we turn to from year to year, because attending to our health and our financial stability just feels good.

You know what else feels good? Knowing you have the insurance coverage you need, in each aspect of your life.

For many people, insurance is a buy-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. So, I’m proposing a shift in the way you think about insurance and the way you think about New Year’s resolutions. Yes, just in time for 2016, here are six insurance resolutions I think will help make this year your most secure year yet – give them a try!

  1. I will do a total insurance review with my agent.
    During the course of the year, things change around your home, with your car, etc. You might add a pool or shorten your commute. When these kinds of things change, your insurance should change, too. Sit down once a year (or more often, if needed) with your independent insurance agent for a thorough review of your coverages. That way, you aren’t carrying too little (and putting yourself at risk) or too much (and paying more than you need to).
  2. I won’t be underinsured.
    As mentioned above, carrying too little insurance puts you at serious risk. Carry too little home insurance and, if it ever comes time to rebuild due to a fire or other covered loss, your policy won’t cover the full cost. You’ll have to cover some of the costs yourself or else make some hard choices, such as which features of your former home to forgo. These are heart-breaking circumstances, trust me. It’s also easy to carry too little liability insurance, either by having low limits on your auto or home policy or by not having an umbrella policy. People, lawsuits are expensive. I hope you never experience one, but, if you do, having the right insurance could really pay off for you.
  3. I will maximize my insurance discounts.
    As insurance agents, we think like you think. So when you ask, “how can I pay less for my insurance?”, we have answers. But, oftentimes we need your help. To save on your home insurance due to your state-of-the-art alarm system, for example, you may need to provide certain documentation. Please be mindful of providing it right away. We know you want to keep your insurance costs down, and we can help.
  4. I will update my personal home inventory.
    You’ve got some good stuff in your house, right? Stuff you love. Stuff you really, really love. Well, have you taken inventory of it? You may have inherited some antique coins this year or gotten some nice jewelry for a holiday gift. If so, add it to your home inventory, and chat with your independent agent about how your collections, belongings and pieces are covered. Don’t have a home inventory? Then this is the resolution for you! Go from room to room, catalog your belongings and what they’re worth – photos, receipts and appraisals all help. This, of course, helps if you’re ever in a situation where you need to replace some or all of your belongings due to a theft, a fire or some other incident.
  5. I will make managing my policies easy.
    Today, insurance carriers offer paperless billing, automatic payments and other ways to simplify. Take advantage of them and you’ll reduce clutter and save time (resolutions we all have!).
  6. I won’t neglect my other insurance needs.
    Do you own a personal watercraft or ATV? Do you live in an area prone to flooding? Do you have a home business? These all require special consideration. So, don’t leave your toys unprotected, and don’t overlook your unique insurance needs. Your independent insurance agent can help you check for areas of unaddressed risk or gaps in your coverage so you don’t have an unpleasant insurance surprise in 2016.

You think about insurance when you purchase it, and you certainly think about it when you need to file a claim. Think about it as you head into 2016, too, and make sure you have the proper coverage in place. Then you can get back to slimming your waistline and fattening your bank account.

Happy New Year everyone!

Blog Credit: Safeco,

Posted by Shaun Murphy, Pablo Beach Insurance December 28, 2015
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