While insurance may be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, the start of a new year is the perfect time to review your insurance coverage and update your home inventory list. When you reflect on the last 12 months, especially with the pandemic, you might realize that some of those changes could greatly affect your home insurance needs. So, try starting a new tradition: update your home inventory list. Here are four good reasons to add an annual insurance review and home inventory update to your list of holiday traditions.
- Your new gifts may not be covered.
Your homeowners insurance will cover most of your big-ticket gifts like a big screen TV, new electronics and expensive jewelry, but only up to your policy limits. That’s why it’s important to maintain a current record of all your belongings. Update your home inventory this holiday season so your coverage limits meet your insurance needs.
- A lot can change in a year.
Think about the new “normal” we’re living in with COVID-19. With many people spending more time in their homes, it is not surprising that home improvement projects have increased in popularity. According to a recent porch.com survey, 76% of homeowners have completed at least one home improvement project since the start of the pandemic. Take photos or a video of your remodeled kitchen or bathroom, gather receipts and add them to your inventory list. When you review coverage at the start of the year, you can ensure your new assets are safeguarded.
- It will make filing an insurance claim easier.
The information you put into the home inventory list can make an insurance claim settlement faster and easier. This is especially crucial for high-value items. Don’t forget to document your attic, basement, closets and other storage areas. Can you imagine trying to compile all this information after a disaster? Without a record of your belongings, remembering everything you own or what you’ve lost can be challenging.
- It’s free and easy.
With today’s technology, it’s never been easier to keep a detailed catalog of your possessions. Keep your home inventory list in a safe place outside your home or cloud-based storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. Also, your insurance agent will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you at no cost.
Creating a home inventory doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as standing in the middle of each room and taking a 360-degree video. Tackle this project with your children and show them family keepsakes and their history.
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- Ask students if they rent or own home. Do they have renters or homeowner’s insurance? Have they prepared a list of their personal belongings? If not, why?
- If students don’t have a household inventory, encourage them to prepare a list of their belongings.
- Why is it important to annually review your home insurance needs?
- Where should you keep your home inventory list?
Your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to a building or home you rent, but it will not cover your personal items, and yet only 40 percent of renters purchase renters insurance. But renters insurance is usually affordable. For people who rent, renters insurance typically includes three types of coverage—personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability. Keep in mind that flood damage is not covered with renters insurance. Also remember, if you are a dependent, your parents’ home-owners policy may cover your belongings even if you are not living at home.
For more information, click here.
- Ask students if they are living on their own and renting an apartment. If so, do they have renters insurance?
- Ask students to call local insurance agents to get quotes for renters insurance. Do you have to pay extra for expensive items you own?
- What can you do to cover losses to your personal property due to floods or other acts of God?
- What actions can you take to reduce the cost of renters insurance? Should every renter purchase renters insurance? Why or why not?
- How does it work?
Most usage-based car insurance policies have you plug a small device into your car’s diagnostic port, which is usually under the dashboard. Others use cell phone connections or apps. All of them send information about your driving to your insurer.
- Is it a good deal?
It could lower your premium if you drive safely and don’t drive lots of miles.
- How about my privacy?
There are many privacy issues to consider related to these types of policies.
For more information click here.
- Ask students to find out if their car insurer offers usage-based insurance.
- Under what circumstance will you consider purchasing usage-based car insurance?
- What might be the purpose of using global positioning systems and other technology in determining the car insurance premiums?
- Will younger drivers embrace the monitoring devices, especially when car chips allow parents to monitor the speed and braking habits of young drivers?
Without warning, a flood, fire or other disaster could leave you with a severely damaged home, destroyed belongings and barriers to managing your finances. Many people think of disaster preparedness as having a stockpile of water, canned food, and flashlights, but people also need access to cash and financial services. That’s why it is important to include financial preparedness in your disaster plans. Here is the latest summary of important preparations.
You should have enough insurance to cover the cost to replace or repair your home, car and other valuable property, as well as temporary housing if you are displaced from your home. Those who do not own a home should have renters insurance. Also, make sure that you have the right coverage for the types of disasters likely to occur in your area. For example, homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover events such as flooding or earthquakes, so you may want to consider whether you need additional coverage.
- Periodically review your insurance coverage
- Build and maintain an emergency savings fund
- Sign up for direct deposit of your paycheck or government benefits
- Gather and organize important documents
For more information, click here.
- Ask students to prepare a household inventory with a description and the value of belongings.
- Help students understand that renter’s insurance is important for the protection it provides for their personal property.
- How can you protect yourself from flood, fire or other natural disasters?
- Should you consider purchasing flood-related insurance if you don’t live in a coastal area? Why or why not?
- Why is it important to gather and organize important documents before a disaster strikes?
Having adequate auto insurance and determining what coverages are needed are fundamental for avoiding financial difficulties. Consumer Action (www.consumer-action.org) offers a variety of materials related to shopping for auto insurance, managing auto insurance costs, and obtaining assistance when encountering trouble when filing a claim.
These resources includes downloadable publications on the basics of auto insurance in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. Also available are PowerPoint slides and lessons plans.
For additional information on auto insurance resources, click here.
- Have students develop actions that can reduce the cost of auto insurance.
- Have students create a video that demonstrates financial problems associated with not having adequate auto insurance.
- What are information sources that might be used to become better informed on auto insurance?
- How might a person reduce the cost of auto insurance?
When buying home, health, auto or rental insurance, you should find out if your state insurance department offers any information about insurance companies and rates. Check several sources for the best rate and get quotes online. Consult an independent insurance agent who represents several insurers in your area to get a better deal.
Before purchasing insurance, be sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims if the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department, or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org), which maintains a database of complaints filed with state regulators. Finally check the financial stability of the insurance company.
For additional information and guidance visit the following websites:
http://www.ambest.com, http://www.standardandpoors.com, and http://www.moodys.com
- Why is it important to contact state insurance department before purchasing insurance?
- How can an independent insurance agent provide a better insurance rate?
- Why is an insurance company’s financial stability important?
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the websites to
* Have students visit the various websites in this blog and then prepare a short summary of their findings.
* explore a few advantages of purchasing insurance from an independent insurance agent?
Auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. Check with your state insurance regulator to learn more about individual requirements as well as insurers you may be considering for the insurance policy.
To get the best coverage at the best price, get several quotes from insurance companies; it may save you hundreds of dollars every year. What can you do to reduce your insurance premiums?
Raise your deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. If you own an older car, you might want to eliminate this coverage altogether. Don’t forget to take advantage of discounts available to you. For example, you may be eligible for a discount based on the number of miles you drive; your age; your good grades if you are a student; your driving record; or if you have taken a safe driving course. You may also be able to get discounts if you insure more than one vehicle, insure your vehicle and home with the same company, have anti-theft devices, or have safety features as air bags or anti-lock brake system.
For more information on automobile insurance costs go to www.naic.org; http://www.insure.com; and http://www.insweb.com
1. What can you do to reduce your automobile insurance costs?
2. Why better college grades result in reducing your automobile insurance costs?
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the websites to
* Have students research various types of discounts available to them.
* Research the make and model of vehicles that are most frequently stolen, consequently resulting in higher insurance rates.