When you’re purchasing insurance for your home or business, the most important investment you make is not the premium you pay, but the time you spend with your agent.
Once every three years, at least, sit down with your independent agent and get some good advice. Some policyholders are disappointed when their expectations for insurance coverage are not met: they have a loss and file a claim, but things don’t work out the way they expect. In many instances, you can avoid a less than satisfying outcome by taking just a little time beforehand to discuss your situation and expectations. For example:
- Businesses benefit from business interruption insurance, but they need to understand what’s covered and what’s not. It can be complex to establish appropriate limits to cover the interruption of income from a covered loss – funds you would need to pay bills, payroll, mortgages and other expenses. An agent can help you identify your specific needs.
- Many people don’t know that damage from flood is not covered under a standard homeowner policy, nor do they completely understand other water damage limitations: backup of sewer, hydrostatic pressure, sump pump failure, etc. An agent can help you understand these limitations and your options.
- A homeowner might have thousands of dollars of heirloom silverware – It’s not automatically covered for its full value in a standard policy. But you can get coverage. Your agent has to understand your specific exposures and expectations in order to advise you on the right coverage for valuables and collections.
- Rental cars – should you take the insurance offered by the rental company? It depends on your auto policy. For some of these things, even your agent may have to think about it. But you need to give them the opportunity to do so.
You can get quotes online for generic coverages, assuming the details of your situation are just like everyone else’s. But every situation is unique, and unless you take the time to identify what makes it so, an insurance company may assume your needs are generic.
After a loss, it seems we all have plenty of time to talk with an agent. But the best time to have that conversation is before the loss occurs.
Make an appointment with your insurance agent as you would any other financial adviser. Explain what is unique about you, your family, your situation, your plans and goals. Your agent will review your assets and risks and propose a customized insurance program from a reliable insurer. You’ll leave with more peace of mind.
The time you spend up front with a professional independent agent is an investment. You will be rewarded with a return on your investment: a solid insurance program with the right coverage for you and no surprises should you have a loss.