Hand writing terms associated with annual insurance check-upAs an independent financial advisor, SageVest Wealth Management offers unbiased advice that extends to all aspects of your wealth management, including insurance considerations. Appropriate insurance levels protect your assets and safeguard you, your loved ones, and your lifestyle. An annual insurance check-up can help save you money through comparison shopping. Most importantly, it ensures that your coverage remains aligned with your current lifestyle. Here’s a checklist of what to think about. 

Life Insurance

Life insurance helps protect who and what matters most to you, providing peace of mind for you, and security for those you care about. While often overlooked, it’s particularly important for women.

If you’ve experienced a major life event recently, your annual insurance check-up should evaluate your current life insurance coverage, relative to your new reality. For example:

  • If you’ve expanded your family, your life insurance coverage may no longer be sufficient to provide for your partner and child(ren), including covering a spouse’s lost income, childcare or college expenses, or caring for dependent older relatives.
  • Conversely, you may have become an empty nester, sold your business, or otherwise ‘downsized’ your life. SageVest can help evaluate whether a life insurance policy remains worthwhile in the context of your broader legacy plans, and help facilitate its surrender, enabling you to benefit in the here and now.
  • If you’ve recently married and live in a community property state, the rules are complex but typically require you to name your spouse as beneficiary on any new life insurance policy purchased after your marriage.
  • If you’ve become single through death or divorce, your beneficiary designations will likely need updating on your life insurance policy, estate planning documents, and bank accounts. Other life transitions that may trigger beneficiary changes include births, marriages, and deaths of non-spouses.
  • If you’ve become a business owner, life insurance coverage for you can help keep your business afloat during a transitional period such as sale of the business. If you operate as a partnership, life insurance on each partner provides surviving partners with the option of buying out another partner’s share. Depending upon the nature of your business, you might also need additional business insurances lines, such as malpractice, errors and omissions, or cyber insurance.

Home Owner’s Or Renter’s Insurance

It’s always a good idea to maintain an up-to-date inventory of your home’s contents, in case of emergency. This can be done by keeping a written list, photographs, or even a video of items in your home. Regularly updating this inventory should be a key element of your annual insurance check-up. Other considerations include:

  • If you’re now renting, your landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover you. You need separate renter’s insurance to cover loss or damage to your belongings.
  • If you’ve become a home owner, you need home insurance that covers both your home’s structure and its contents.
  • If you’ve moved to a new area, you may need additional coverage for earthquakes, floods, etc.
  • If you’ve purchased expensive jewelry, artwork, or other high-cost items, you may need to add an insurance rider to your home insurance to insure those items separately.
  • If you’ve remodeled recently, the value of your home has (hopefully) increased.
  • If you’ve added security features to your home like alarms or deadlocks, you may qualify for a discount on your home owner’s insurance.
  • If you’ve purchased a second home or rental property, you’ll need additional insurance, including landlord’s insurance and higher umbrella coverage.
  • If you own a historical home, it’s important to ensure your home owner’s insurance coverage will pay for historical replacements.

Personal Liability Insurance

Also known as umbrella insurance or excess liability insurance, this insurance protects you from a variety of liability claims. If your net worth exceeds $500,000 (typically the upper limit of umbrella coverage embedded in homeowner and car insurance policies), we recommend purchasing additional umbrella coverage.

Other considerations may include:

  • If you’re now the owner of certain breeds of dog (commonly ‘blacklisted’ dogs include pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers), you may need additional coverage called dog liability insurance.
  • If you’ve started a business, you’ll need to purchase a variety of professional liability coverage, including errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.
  • If you’ve become a member of a charitable organization’s board of directors or other steering committee, you may need to obtain directors and officers liability insurance.

Car Insurance

There are many possible life changes your annual insurance check-up may highlight that could mean a rate adjustment from your vehicle insurer. These include:

  • If you’ve changed your vehicle, including buying, selling, or modifying it.
  • If your teen’s started driving.
  • If your teen’s heading off to college without the car.
  • If you now use your vehicle for work purposes, or no longer use your vehicle for work purposes.
  • If your commute is significantly greater or less than before.
  • If you’ve joined a car pool.
  • If you’re using your vehicle to earn some extra dollars via Lyft or Uber.
  • If your car is now parked in a garage or is no longer garaged.

SageVest Wealth Management embeds extensive financial planning considerations into our comprehensive wealth management services. As an independent advisor, we receive no incentives or benefits, while our fiduciary obligation ensures your best interests are always paramount. Please contact us for further information.

Prepared by SageVest Wealth Management. Copyright 2019.

The information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed. This article is for informational purposes only. The views expressed are those of SageVest Wealth Management and should not be construed as investment advice. All expressions of opinions are subject to change and past performance is no guarantee of future results. SageVest Wealth Management does not render legal, tax, or accounting services. Accordingly, you, your attorneys and your accountants are ultimately responsible for determining the legal, tax and accounting consequences of any suggestions offered herein.

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