Take inventory of your insurance needs

Did you get an expensive gift for Hanukkah? Have you gotten compliments on your brand new granite counter tops?

Both lovely; both potentially doomed if left uninsured.

While we celebrate milestones and holidays, enjoy home improvements and make significant changes in our lives, we don’t always stop to reassess our insurance needs. The beginning of the year is a great time to take inventory, insurance experts say. It could be an opportunity to save money both now and in the long-term if you ever needed to file a claim.

“It’’s not only about saving money, which is critical today, but also making sure you’re adequately covered,” said Tom Adderhold, an independent insurance agent in Duluth.

Even when we do get our bill, we don’t always re-evaluate the policy and how our current life fits into it. Marriage, divorce, and the birth of a child can impact life insurance needs. A teen beginning to drive, or one going off to college, affects car insurance rates. Even career moves should make you pause.

As thousands of Georgians have made career shifts, many have elected to begin their own businesses working from home. Those business effects, however, are not generally covered under a home policy, Adderhold said.

With life changes, said Lisa Lobo of The Hartford, come potential insurance credits or discounts such as:

– Did we tell our insurance company that we’ve installed deadbolts, smoke detectors or alarms? Do they know you added a deck to your home or installed cherry wood cabinets in the kitchen, thus increasing the value of your home?

– Rather than making scheduled payments, can I get a discount if I pay my bill in full? Will I get a discount by packaging my home and car insurance policies?

– Can I get credit for belonging to any professional organizations?

– My son or daughter is a stellar student. Can I get a car insurance credit?

“An agent might not know all of the specifics of your life, so it’s up to you to be pro-active,” Lobo said.

Seemingly minor details should be evaluated. For instance, there is likely a limit on the amount of coverage your policy allows on jewelry. You may need additional coverage. At the very least, check the caps on things like jewelry, furs, computers, glassware, electronics and other expensive items — items that you may have gotten over the holidays.

“The average person has to be reminded,” Adderhold said. “You only think about your insurance coverage when you get your bill or something happens. It should be on the first-of-the-year checklist. What has changed about lifestyle in the last 12 months?”

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