When Should I Review My Insurance Coverages?

October 30, 2018  |  John T. Buchman

Winter is approaching and many people rake their leaves, get their cars ready for winter or do other projects to prepare for winter. It might also be a good time to look at your insurance coverages to see if they are outdated or inadequate. It’s better to do so before you run into a problem than to find out afterwards that you do not have enough coverage.

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More Protection Can Be Affordable
Many of us bought car insurance when we were younger and times were tight financially, so we purchased the minimum amount of insurance necessary to protect us. However, there is the insurance adage that “the first dollar of coverage is the most expensive.” What that means is that you can significantly increase the protection for you and your family without a proportionate increase in your insurance premiums. Thus, you can double your automobile liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist limits from $50,000/$100,000 to $100,000/$300,000 without doubling your premium. The same is true if you elect to “stack” or increase your “no-fault” coverages that protect you and other family members that reside with you. Again, you can add significantly more protection in the event you or a loved one gets injured for a modest increase in your premium.
Most people purchase the statutory minimums of no-fault coverage which are $20,000 worth of medical expenses and $20,000 of wage loss/economic loss benefits. The Minnesota legislature recently increased the maximum amount of weekly wage loss benefits from $250 to $500. However, many of our clients are disappointed when they learn they can only receive a maximum of $500 per week in lost wages even though they’ve lost significantly more than that.
It’s good to analyze your insurance coverage in light of your increased earnings or wages to see if you could survive several weeks of only receiving $500 a week for lost wages. If you could not, you can contact your agent to increase your weekly maximum benefit.
Consider Your Acquisitions
As people get older they make more money, acquire snowmobiles, ATVs, cabins or similar purchases, so it’s important to review the amount of liability coverage that you have under your homeowner’s and automobile policies. Often times a homeowner’s policy has to be modified to cover larger boats, ATVs and snowmobiles. You should consult your agent if you have purchased these items.
Protecting You and Your Family
Liability coverage protects you if you were to cause injury to another person. That protects you from the claim of someone else. However, if your personal assets significantly exceed the amount of liability coverage you carry, that might create the temptation for the injured party to try to obtain your personal assets. Thus, it’s often important to consider increasing your liability coverage or purchasing a liability umbrella policy.
People often overlook their uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This protects you and your passengers if another driver causes injuries or harm that exceed the other driver’s insurance limits — $30,000 may not go very far. It would also cover the situation where an irresponsible and uninsured motorist injures you. Purchasing higher limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can protect you from irresponsible and underinsured drivers. Again, it’s relative cheap to increase your uninsured and underinsured coverages. Some insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages with their umbrella policies; however, not all companies do. Check with your agent.
Let us know if you have any questions.