16 Life Changes to Tell Your Insurance Broker About
March 30, 2023
Life Changes, So Should Your Insurance
Life doesn’t stop after you obtain insurance coverage. Maybe you added that much-needed extra bathroom to your home or inherited your grandparents’ precious antiques. Perhaps your teenager is going off to college or you’re starting a new business. You will likely need to adjust your coverage to align with your new circumstances.
Here are 16 life experiences that should prompt a call to your insurance broker:
- Getting married or divorced: Many insurance companies offer benefits like marriage discounts, multicar discounts and bundled insurance policies. You may have wedding or engagement rings that are insured. If you’re going through a divorce, let your agent know. (Some divorce decrees specify insurance requirements.) You should adjust your policies, reflect name changes, update your life insurance and all listed beneficiaries.
- Buying, renting or moving to a new residence: A new house or rental will need new coverage. It would be terrible to lose your home in a fire only to find out that you’re not insured. Make sure the policy limits are high enough to cover the cost to rebuild your home (different from market value). Even if you don’t own a place, you and your belongings need protection. A renters insurance policy will cover your personal belongings and offer added liability coverage (if someone is injured on your property or sues you).
- Purchasing a new car: If you buy a vehicle, call your insurance broker with the make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN). Depending on both your old and new vehicle, your insurance rate may change significantly – either up or down.
- Becoming a business owner (even if it’s a home-based business): No matter where your business is located or how big it is, you’ll probably need coverage to ensure everything is properly protected. Take note of your business operations, even in a home business. If you use your car for business or store merchandise and supplies at home, you’ll need extra coverage. Ask your broker if a business owners policy (a “BOP”) is right for you.
- Doing home renovations: Major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, remodeling your kitchen or enclosing a porch can put you at risk of being underinsured. An increase in the value of the structure may require an increase to your home insurance coverage limits.
- Having a new teen driver: When your teenager gets their driver’s license, they need to be properly insured. Getting insurance for them can be pricey, so make sure they attend all the necessary driver’s education classes. And be sure to let your broker know so you can take advantage of any discounts.
- Acquiring something expensive: Anytime you inherit or buy something valuable, you should reevaluate the contents coverage portion of your home insurance policy. The policy limits may not be high enough. Compare the cost of increasing insurance on your valuables versus the cost of adding an umbrella policy to expand coverage ($1 million or more) over your home and auto.
- Heading off to college: If your college student is moving to on-campus or off-campus housing, you should review your insurance policies to make sure their personal possessions and vehicle are adequately covered.
- Joining a carpool: If you’re a regular carpool driver, your liability insurance should reflect the increased risk of additional passengers in the vehicle.
- Installing a security alarm or smart home system: Security systems deter theft and some smart home systems prevent catastrophic structural damage (like a whole house water shut-off system). Call your broker about insurance discounts for these systems, even if you’re only in the planning stages
- Switching mortgage or auto lenders: Claims payments can get confusing if your old lender is still listed on your policy. Your insurance company may need to issue a check to both you and your lender when there’s a claim. If the wrong lender is listed, it can delay claim processing or payments for premiums (leaving you temporarily uninsured).
- Driving less: Working from home, living closer to your office or joining a carpool will reduce your mileage. Auto insurance companies consider less mileage a risk reduction, so you might be rewarded with a cheaper rate.
- Buying a second home: Whether a beachfront property or a mountain getaway, don’t skimp on the insurance — especially if your second home will be vacant for long periods. If you rent your second home, ask your agent about landlord insurance.
- Traveling internationally: If you plan to drive outside Canada, your current coverage may not protect you abroad. (For example, Mexico requires that all drivers have Mexico auto insurance. They don’t recognize Canadian auto insurance, and you can be fined or jailed in addition to not being covered in an accident.)
- Having your identity stolen: If you’ve been the victim of this kind of crime, you may want to invest in identity theft or cyber liability coverage to protect you and your family in the future.
- Retiring: You might be able to get a discount on your home insurance when you retire. In addition, if you commuted regularly to your job, your annual mileage may drop significantly.
Don’t forget to keep your insurance broker in the loop as your circumstances change. They’ll help you offset your financial liability and protect what’s important to you!
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