Insurance Tips to Consider During the Down Time/Shelter in Place

Home maintenance should be something that you always do. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, or you hire people to do the work. Many times, people file claims that are not covered because they are maintenance issues or faulty construction problems. Examples include no flashing on the roof or decks causing water to flow inside the home, squirrels in the attic and wear and tear in a shower pan. Take the time to inspect your home inside and out. Check the plumbing, the roof, gutters, foundation, decks and air conditioning.  If you pick up the phone and immediately call the claims department, it is a claim, even if you call to ask a coverage question. The claims whether an inquiry or not can cause rate increases or cancellations. Always call your agent instead to discuss first unless it is a truly catastrophic loss.  

Review policy coverages and understand what you have. Many people are underinsured without knowing it and some people are willingly underinsured to save a dollar. Either way, when a large claim or lawsuit comes, you stand to lose assets and your current lifestyle. It should be taken seriously. Get a policy review for your auto, home insurance and business insurance if you are a business owner. Sometimes a small inexpensive coverage endorsement can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a claim. The most common coverage shortfalls are liability limits on auto insurance and structure rebuild value on homeowner’s insurance. Also, many people unknowingly have actual cash value on their roof coverage and contents and will be upset to find it out when a claim occurs.

Consider purchasing your own life insurance policy. Many people have a group life policy through their employer which is a good start. But if change jobs or careers, you can’t take the policy with you. I often tell people that the group policy at work is your employer’s policy. And in many cases, those policies are very limited in coverage often leaving the family in a financial strain in the event of a death. The longer you wait, the higher the price. And for Millennials and Generation Z, the coverage for your own term life policy can be literally 40 cents a day. I stress to those groups in particular to lock in the low rate now and if a health problem develops years later, they don’t have to prove insurability again.

Do not get any tickets. That seems obvious, but people are driving even more recklessly with less cars on the road. A single speeding ticket can increase your renewal rate on your auto insurance upwards of 25% or higher. I recently saw a news report on TV where a cop was saying he is ticketing people for driving over a 100 mph! And during the interview, a car zipped by on the opposite side of the highway clocking in a 116 mph! So be careful and do not speed.

Consider a higher deductible for your homeowner’s insurance policy. The homeowner’s policy should be used in catastrophic type losses. You can save if you increase your deductible and handle what would have been smaller claims out of your pocket. Remember how I mentioned earlier about filing smaller claims or inquiring about a possible claim? If you increase the deductible you will hold yourself from calling in small claims.

Tracey Wells

Farmers Insurance Agent

Member of GECC