Ten Things to Know about Renewing Insurance

Your guide to optimizing your next coverage term and protecting yourself like you deserve
Written by Sara East
Written by Sara East

Insurance doesn’t have to be boring. That’s why we hired Sara East to be our BA insurance writer. Maggie specializes in making mundane subjects hella-entertaining.

Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Couple using a laptop while doing their budget paperwork in their kitchen at home. 10 things to know about renewing insurance.

When's the last time you thought about your insurance coverage? It's okay if it isn't top of mind all the time, but when your home, auto, or business policy is up for renewal, there's more to be done than simply continuing with your existing coverage.

Working with an independent insurance agent through the renewal process can save you time and money and get you better coverage. Discussing the process with your agent can keep them up to date on your life and business goals so they can make sure your insurance coverage is keeping up with your needs. 

The 10 Most Important Considerations for Renewing Your Insurance

Lots of good can come from renewing your insurance. While it's tempting to continue with the same carrier and coverage you've had, if there have been any changes to your life or your business, you could be missing out on some discounts or better coverage. If it's time to renew your insurance policy, consider these ten things before you commit. 

1. Explore Potential Coverage Gaps

If you sat down and made a list of everything that has changed in your life over the last year, how long would it be? Did you change careers? Get a new car? Have a baby? Even if you simply purchased new furniture, this is a reason to double-check your coverage and make sure there are no gaps.

Take some time to look at your current policy and discuss with your independent insurance agent if there are areas where you need more coverage or to add on because of a change in your situation.

2. Adjust Add-ons 

Add-ons allow you to get extra coverage without purchasing a whole new policy. A great example is if you experienced a car accident and needed a rental car. Maybe you realized that your current insurance does not include rental insurance reimbursement, or perhaps your reimbursement isn't sufficient. When you renew, you can supplement your policy with rental reimbursement in case another accident occurs. 

This could also work the opposite way. Maybe you have an add-on in your existing policy that you don't need anymore. For example, perhaps you have a fine art add-on in your home insurance policy, but you sold all of your artwork six months ago. There's no reason to keep paying for this add-on if it's not doing you any good.

3. Consider Changes in Risk

Anytime there's a major change in your life, it's important to think about your insurance coverage. Maybe you found a new job that is riskier than your last. In that case, you'll want to consider your new risk levels and if your current policies will provide adequate coverage. Maybe your in-laws moved into your home, and you need to reassess your liability coverage. 

Other changes to consider are changes in your credit score or the value of your home. Both of these can impact your premiums. A higher credit score could get you a lower premium. If your home's value has increased immensely, you may need more coverage. Discuss any significant changes with your agent to ensure you're not missing any coverage.

4. Prepare for a Rate Increase

It's not set in stone, but it's very possible that your insurance will increase year after year, and it doesn't hurt to anticipate that it likely will. If you needed to file a claim in the last year, then it's even more likely your rates will be increasing. 

An easy way to counteract rate increases is to shop for a new policy with a different carrier and look into potential insurance discounts. An agent can help you with both of these. 

5. Go Over Your Personal Details

Insurance rates can be impacted by minor personal details such as age, marital status, or location. What may seem like a small change to you can mean a lot for your insurance policy.

If you moved locations, got hitched, added a family member, or had any other personal changes, it's a great time to see what that change might do to your homeowners coverage. The age of your children can also significantly impact your insurance rates. If you have a teen who is now going to be a driver on your auto insurance, you'll need to prepare for increased rates. 

6. Check to See if You Can Change Coverage

You're never required to be loyal to a single insurance carrier. While some carriers will reward loyalty and bundling insurance packages, it's okay to seek new coverage if your current coverage isn't hitting all your needs.

An agent can help you shop for additional carriers and discuss how to cancel the renewal of your current policy.

7.  Weigh the Cost vs. Value 

While reviewing your other personal details, consider both the rates and the value you're getting from your provider. Before your renewal date, ask your independent insurance agent to help you find the right coverage at the right price. A policy that offers a combination of excellent customer service at an affordable rate may be the best option for your needs.

8. Verify All Who Need to Be Covered Are Named on the Policy

Remember that teen who will soon be behind the wheel of one of your vehicles? Yep, they need to be added to your auto insurance policy. The same goes for any added family members and names of those who are on your mortgage. 

The reason it's important to make sure the proper people are named on your insurance policy is to assure you'll get the coverage you're paying for. If your teen driver is not on your policy and is in an accident while learning to drive, your auto insurance will not pay for the damage. 

8. Explore Bundling Options and Other Discounts

There are a variety of ways to save on insurance. One of the most common is bundling your insurance policies with the same carrier. This means purchasing home and auto insurance from the same company or bundling your home and life insurance. 

Other home insurance discounts include:

  • Military and veteran discounts
  • Good driver discounts
  • Good grades discount for teens
  • New home discounts
  • Safety discounts in your home for installing features like alarm systems and better locks
  • No claim discounts
  • Loyalty discounts
  • Sprinkler discount

And there are more discounts than this available. So as you prepare for renewal, ask your independent insurance agent if this is an option for you.

10. Read Your Policy Provisions

Insurance can be something you rarely think about until you need it. As your renewal date approaches, make sure you understand how your policy works and what to do if you need to file a claim. 

Nuances between policies could make all the difference. For example, with renters insurance, know what kind of water damage your policy can help cover and how to file a claim if you suffer damage. Even with home insurance, water damage coverage is a major gray area. You may need to purchase flood insurance if you're in an area prone to flooding and natural disasters. But also, if your upstairs toilet overflows, do you know what insurance will pay for? Things that may feel like a given could be excluded from standard coverages. 

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent?

At the end of the day, you want to ensure you're working with someone who understands your insurance needs and has your back. An independent insurance agent can help you learn about your options for coverage and renewing your policy.

Agents will speak with you, free of charge, to answer all of your questions and get you the coverage you need. Before renewing your insurance policies, check in with an agent to get the most out of your coverage. 

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