When it comes to insurance, knowing the need for more or less coverage is obvious. Like in the case of marrying the love of your life or welcoming a beautiful new baby to your family. Maybe your spouse lost insurance coverage or you bought a big-ticket item that requires a separate policy.
Sometimes, the need to update an insurance policy isn’t so obvious. Here’s a breakdown of how to know if you need more or less coverage to protect you, your loved ones, and your financial life.
While most states require drivers to carry auto insurance, not everyone has enough coverage. Some 12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured as late as 2019, notes a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council. To be on the safe side, you should have more than just liability coverage. If you still owe money on your auto loan or your car has retained its value, add comprehensive coverage.
If you haven’t asked for a better rate from your auto insurer in the past six months, you can probably save money by switching to a new company or by requesting a better rate on your current policy. Visit Insure.com and use its car insurance discounts tool to see the kinds of deals large insurers are offering in your state.
If your employer offers long-term disability insurance, even if you have to pay for a portion of it, make sure you take it. While about 40 million workers have long-term coverage through their employer, but data shows the number of people who need coverage is higher than 51 million. Are you able to cover a months-long gap without income? Then you should have disability insurance. It’s also a good idea to invest in a supplemental policy if you can. This is because group disability policies only replace up to 60 percent of your pre-disability gross income, and that may not be enough to live on. When you add an extra policy, you can bring your coverage up to 80 percent.
You can’t afford to go without health insurance. If your employer doesn’t offer it, go online to Healthcare.gov to find a plan through the exchange. A new study, the “Lifetime of Health Care Costs” showed the average person with insurance through an employer’s health plan will still have $320,000 in unreimbursed health care costs over their lifetime. Without employer coverage, it’s more than double that amount, at $700,000.
If you own a home, Consumer Reports suggests getting a new policy estimate every two years. This is different from a renewal quote that factors in rising cost of materials and inflation when calculating the reconstruction value. The Insurance Information Institute offers a guide to what’s covered in a standard homeowner’s policy.
Shop around for insurance coverage to get a better deal on an annual basis. Many companies are willing to undercut your current premium to bring you on board. Data collected by ValuePenguin found the average cost of homeowners insurance was $126 per month, or $1,516 a year across the U.S. Those rates can vary widely – by $185 per month – depending on where you live and the reconstruction costs of your house or condo.
Only 41% of people who rent have a renter’s insurance policy. You should buy a policy if you want to protect your belongings against theft or damage, and liability in case someone gets hurt while in your rented space. Plus, it’s affordable. A renter’s insurance policy will cost between $15 and $30 a month, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Term Life Insurance
If you have children, or anyone who relies on your income, life insurance is a must. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. A good term life policy usually covers the needs of most people.
Term life insurance is a policy that ends (or terminates) at a set point in time. It includes a death benefit, no investment attached (like in whole life policies), and when the term ends, the coverage ends. Term life is typically much cheaper than other options. In late 2022, the average cost of life insurance for a 40-year-old with a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy, is $26 a month, or $312 a year. You can also supplement a personal policy with policy offered through your employer. Check out this calculator at Insure.com to see how much coverage you need at this stage of your life.