From the teenage years to retirement, many people experience life changes that influence not just their lives, but also their insurance needs. Here are a few common life events that call for you to call your agent.
Whether you’re moving in together or getting married, living in the same home or driving the same vehicles as your significant other comes with insurance implications.
Living in a home that one of you owns
- Ask your agent if you can add another occupant to the homeowners policy so that their belongings will be. This may or may not be possible based on marital status. If it’s not, whomever is moving in should consider purchasing a separate renters policy in case their personal property is ever stolen, damaged or destroyed. Moving in together is also a good time to update or combine home inventories.
Living together and one of you has a renters insurance policy
- Ask your agent if you can add another resident to the policy. You may need to purchase separate renters policies if you’re not married.
Have more than one car
- You may qualify for a discount if you’re married and you insure both cars under the same policy. However, it still may be cheaper to have separate policies for separate vehicles, so check with your insurance agent. Consider adding your partner to your policy as an additional driver if you decide to keep your policies separate.
- Call your agent to see if you qualify for lower auto and/or home insurance rates. You’ll need to decide which company best suits your needs as a married couple.
- Let your insurance agent know so that you can separate any shared policies. You might need to list your teen on separate policies if you have a teen driver. If you share a homeowners policy, let your agent know if one of you moves out during the separation. The person who moves out should also consider a renters policy. After the divorce is final, the homeowners policy should only be in the name of the homeowner.
FAMILY LIFE CHANGES
Families change in many ways as new members are introduced and milestone birthdays are celebrated. Here’s when to double-check that you and your loved ones have adequate protection.
A new family pet
- Talk to your agent to find out if your homeowners or renters policy includes liability coverage in case your pet is ever involved in an accident. Liability coverage is especially important for dogs because even a small dog bite can cause damage. Purchase an additional umbrella policy if your policy doesn’t cover your pets. Keep in mind that owning certain breeds of dogs deemed “vicious” may make you ineligible to purchase home insurance from certain companies entirely.
The baby has arrived
- You may qualify for a lower auto rate. Adjust your auto policy accordingly if you decide to upgrade to a larger or safer vehicle. You may also want to adjust your homeowners or renters insurance policy if you acquire additional belongings, or if you don’t already have accidental damage coverage. The birth of a child may also be a good time to combine multiple insurance policies for the best rate.
Your teen is ready to drive
- Call your agent before your teen gets a learner’s permit to determine how much it will cost to insure your teen once licensed. Ask about student discounts. and expect your auto insurance rate to increase when you add a teen driver to your policy. Teenagers cost more to insure because they have yet to establish a safe track record. And don’t forget to add your teen to your AAA membership for added coverage and benefits
Sending a child off to college
- You may qualify for auto discounts, talk to your agent. Coverage likely still applies if your child brings a car to campus in-state and remains on your policy. Encourage your child to leave valuable belongings at home, and do a detailed inventory of what they take with them. When your child is living in a dorm, most of their belongings will likely be covered under your homeowners policy. However, you may want to consider a personal property endorsement if your limits aren’t high enough. When your child is living off-campus, consider a renters insurance policy to protect their belongings and protect them from liability in case of an incident.
You’ve lost a loved one
- Speak with your insurance agent and adjust your policies to remove anyone who has passed away. If your spouse passed away and left you a home, ask to be listed as the “named insured”. Most insurance policies allow surviving spouses to continue to make payments until the policy can be rewritten. Be sure to have the policy number and death certificate on-hand. If you are an heir to a home, contact the insurance company as soon as possible, as the policy may need to be rewritten. If someone passes away, leaving their car behind, contact the insurance company to find out the person listed on the policy.
Change can be exciting—especially when it involves a new home or vehicle, or upgrading your lifestyle. However, be sure to keep your insurance agent in the loop.
Moving out of your parents’ home
- Call your agent if your car is insured on your parents’ policy. While staying on their policy might save you money, it may not be allowed—the definition of “separate residences” can vary by insurer. Most insurers encourage young people who have moved out to purchase a separate auto policy.
Rent a home
- Your landlord’s policy likely only covers the building and the land—not your personal property inside. This is where a renters policy comes in handy. Most renters insurance policies provide coverage for your belongings whether you’re at home or away. They also include loss of use, which helps you financially if your home becomes inhabitable. And personal liability coverage can help protect you against lawsuits.
Buy a home
- Start shopping for home insurance once your new home has been appraised. While homeowners insurance isn’t required by law, every mortgage lender requires it. Your credit score may impact your premium based on what state you live in.
Buy a second home
- Consider extending the liability portion of your existing homeowners policy to your second home. However, talk to your insurance agent about setting up a second homeowners policy to protect the structure and your belongings. A personal umbrella policy can help protect you against lawsuits if you decide to rent out the place.
Purchase a new car
- After making a verbal or written sales agreement to purchase the vehicle, call your insurance agent—you’ll need insurance to drive it home. Make sure you know the VIN, mileage, make, model and trim — all of which can affect your premium. Before purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage, ask about the value of your car. With an older car or low market value, the cost of these may outweigh the benefits.
Your commute changes
- Your auto premium may be able to reduce if you cut back on driving or are no longer commuting.
You decide to upgrade your property
- Consider adjusting your homeowners or renters policy, or purchasing an umbrella policy. When you remodel or renovate your home, talk to your agent to have your homeowners policy adjusted accordingly.
Start a business
- Be aware that your homeowners, renters or auto policy may not adequately cover you when you use your home or car to conduct business. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need.
DOWNSIZING & RETIREMENT
The later years in life are a great time to simplify. If you experience a shift in lifestyle or reach a certain age, consider giving your insurance agent a call.
Downsize your home or reduce your personal property
- Talk to your insurance agent to see if your coverage needs adjustment. Collision and comprehensive coverage may or may not outweigh the benefits if your car is aging and has a low market value.
- Ask your agent if you qualify for a discount on your homeowners or renters insurance. If you drive less than before, your auto insurance premium may be able to reduce based on the state you live in.
You’re a mature driver
- While getting older may be a way of life, not a life change, it can still impact your insurance. Be aware that your auto insurance rate might increase even if you have a clean record. However, drivers over 50 may be eligible for a discount if they complete a DMV-approved course for mature drivers, so talk to your agent.