It's easy to fall into complacency when it comes to your insurance coverage. A renewal statement might come in the mail and as long as you don't feel raked over the coals, it's easier to renew than to go through the hassle of shopping around. Even if you're happy with the price, it's important to do an annual review of all of your insurance policies.
To get in the habit of doing an annual checkup, schedule it for the same time every year.
Sound Bite Doug Whiteman, Insurance Analyst, Bankrate.com:
"You want to do it every year just to make sure that you are still getting the best rate. You can do it as a New Year's resolution. You can do it around the time of your birthday. You can do it when your policy comes up for renewal. Just choose a time of year that you'll remember and be sure to do it each year at that time."
Start your checkup by reviewing your coverage. Did you acquire any new valuables over the last year? New jewelry, home electronics, or furniture all should be covered on your home policy. If you have new additions to your family make sure that your life policy is enough to take care of them should the worst happen. Consider all the monthly bills and far future expenses like college when choosing your coverage. It's also a good time to update details like a change of address, the kind of miles you're putting on your car, beneficiary information, new drivers in the household and more.
Once you have your needs in mind, call up your insurance company and see what they can do for you. Talk with them about any discounts you might qualify for. A new roof could land you a discount on your home policy, or if you kicked a bad habit like smoking it might reduce your premiums on life insurance. Your agent should be able to tell you about any discounts you're missing out on and how you can work towards qualifying for them.
Shopping around for a better deal should be part of your annual checkup too.
Sound Bite, Jim Whittle, Chief Claims Counsel, American Insurance Association:
"When you have done your homework and you have found a good, reputable insurer where you paid a good price, it will really come back to help you in the end. How do you do it? Agents are a great way. Going to insurers directly insurers sell directly as well. Pricing them, telling them when you are talking to them. Well, you are one insurer I am talking to, but I am talking to other insurers. And finding out what you can about their track record in terms of payments of claims and things like that. There are all sorts of materials out there now that can help you track how good they are at responding when there are claims."
To find out more, or to shop for insurance to fit your family's needs, visit the insurance section at Bankrate.com. I'm Lucas Wysocki.