It's easy to forget to update your insurance plans when things change. But if you don't, you might overspend or miss out on valuable coverage.
We live in a fast world. Your life doesn't stay the same, so why would your insurance? If you weren't paying close attention, your insurance needs might have changed over the past year. But don't worry: QuoteWizard compiled a list of important life events that could impact your insurance. Read along and find out if you're at risk of rising rates.
Do you have old tickets or accidents on your driving record?
If you do, you're probably already paying higher rates. But a lot of people don't know that tickets and accidents can be removed from your record after three to five years. If you're currently paying more for insurance because of years-old incidents, contact your DMV. Find out if your driving record has recently cleared up -- you will get better insurance rates.
Did you sell your car but still drive?
Just because you don't own a vehicle doesn't mean you don't drive a car. That's why non-owner car insurance exists. It's a lot like liability insurance in that it covers injuries and damages to other people and their property.
If you use car sharing services like ReachNow, Car2Go, or ZipCar then non-owner insurance may suit you. But it's not just ridesharing -- if you borrow cars from friends and family you'll want to be covered. It's also a great option for people who need help retaining or reinstating their driver's license or avoiding a lapse in coverage.
Did you or your teen driver get good grades?
Many insurance companies offer discounted rates for students with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Some companies like Allstate will even offer bigger discounts the better your grades are. You will likely need to send in proof in the form of a scholastic transcript or standardized test scores.
Did you start driving for Uber or Lyft?
Lots of people have turned to ridesharing for a source of side income. If you're one of those people, getting rideshare insurance is vital. Why? Because your personal insurance probably doesn't cover you when you're driving for a rideshare, and Uber and Lyft's policies can leave you vulnerable. Rideshare insurance will fill the gap, giving you coverage at all times.
Did you move to a new state?
Moving requires a lot of preparation, so it's easy to forget about your car insurance. First, check that your insurance company operates in your new state. Otherwise you could be penalized for lapsed coverage.
Each state has different regulations for car insurance. Minimum liability requirements vary, meaning you may need to retool your plan to avoid penalties. Let's pretend you live in Arizona and you have minimum coverage. If you move to Texas, you would need to upgrade your plan to meet their higher minimums for coverage. Conversely, if you move from Texas to Arizona, you can get a less-comprehensive plan.
Home and Renters Insurance
Did you get a dog?
In 2015, US homeowners filed over 15,000 home insurance liability claims due to dog bites. Some insurance companies will even restrict or cancel coverage depending on what type of dog you have. Why? Certain breeds are more likely to cost insurers a big payout.
These breeds are most likely to give insurers a headache:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Siberian Husky
- Wolf Hybrid
Do your homework and make sure your home insurance plan covers your dog.
Did you buy any expensive items?
Your homeowners insurance will cover personal belongings. But if you have any special high-value items, consider adding a rider to your policy. Most home insurance plans cover about 50 to 70 percent of your homes insured amount. That's usually enough for most people's possessions, but it may not cover big ticket items.
Examples of high-value items include:
- Rare coins
- Stamp collections
- Expensive electronics
- Firearm collections
Did you make any changes to your home?
Your insurance needs may have changed if you did any of the following:
- Invested in Smart Home technologies: Some insurers offer discounted rates if you have added certain Smart Home technologies to your residence. Especially security and home monitoring tech.
- Added a pool or trampoline: Kids love trampolines and pools. Insurers hate them. You'll need better coverage if you added either to your home. Most homeowners insurance comes with a $100,000 liability protection. It's recommended that you up it to $300,000 if you have a pool. Similarly, trampoline injuries probably aren't protected by a standard home insurance plan. Consider an umbrella policy to protect you in case someone is injured on your trampoline.
- Remodeled your home: Making key renovations with high-quality materials can potentially lower your rates. For instance, some insurers will give you a 30 percent rate discount if you use Class 4 roofing materials. Installing new plumbing and wiring can lower your rates by 10 percent. Some changes like upping your home's square footage or adding a deck may result in raised rates.
Are you renting out a room or using Airbnb?
If you own your home, you should already have homeowners insurance. But what if you're renting a room out or hosting on Airbnb? If it's less than 30 days per year, your homeowners insurance will probably be enough.
But more than 30 days a year? Consider landlord or business insurance, specifically a hotel and hospitality plan. Why? If guests hurt themselves or damage your property, you might have to pay for it.
If that sounds like more than you need, consider an endorsement. You can increase your homeowners coverage with a ‘unit or residence rented to others’ endorsement. Be aware that this will most likely raise your premiums and deductible.
Life and health insurance
Did you have a kid?
Having a child is a monumental moment in one's life. And it's monumentally important to get healthcare for your child and life insurance for yourself.
If your health insurance is provided by your employer, there's a good chance you can add your child to your plan. If not, try to get coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. Otherwise you will need to navigate through the private insurance marketplace. You can find a detailed guide on health insurance for children here.
Buying life insurance isn't high on anyone's list for fun activities, but it's vital if you have a child. Who will provide for your child if you pass away? Life insurance provides a safety net in case something unexpected occurs. There are numerous options for life insurance, and it can get confusing. That's why we made a comprehensive guide to life insurance for new parents.
Did you get married?
Yes, you should consider life insurance if you get married. Yes, even if you're young. Why? First, you never know what's going to happen. Second, you can lock in great rates if you get a plan when you're young. Life insurance is an excellent way to ensure your spouse has financial help if something happens to you.
Did you get divorced?
This is a tricky one. If you get divorced, remember to remove your spouse from your policy. Otherwise, they will be the beneficiary of your life insurance. Things get complicated if alimony or child support is involved. If you're in the middle of a separation, be sure to read our guide to life insurance and divorce.
Did you retire?
Congratulations on your retirement! Most people don't think of retirees as prime candidates for life insurance, but there are many instances where life insurance is important:
- You have debt. You don't want to pass your debt onto your family. Life insurance can help mitigate that.
- You're a business owner. If your family depends on income from your business, life insurance will provide a cushion if something happens to you and your business.
- You have young or special needs children. Most retired parents' children are old enough to provide for themselves. But if your children are young or disabled, a life insurance policy can provide financial support in the event of your death.
If any of your insurance rates have suddenly changed, shop around to find a better deal. You can get various quotes for all types of insurance with QuoteWizard.