Your first home, your career, marriage, a new baby, your first car, retirement: Many of life’s major events can affect not only your life insurance and estate plans, but also your property and liability insurance. While insurance may not be top of mind during these memorable moments, failure to make the necessary changes to your policies as these life events occur, can lead to uncovered losses.
MARRIAGE AND DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP
Getting married, establishing a domestic partnership—or even just moving in together—usually results in a combining of households, cars and other property, so you’ll want to update your insurance policies accordingly. Should the named insured or additional insured be changed? Are your coverage limits adequate? These are just a few examples of the many important considerations that could impact your insurance program.
You may be able to lower your automobile insurance rates by having your vehicles covered by the same insurer. From a liability perspective, even if only one of your family members is listed on the title, all licensed drivers in the household must be disclosed, or you may find yourself without coverage, in the event of a claim.
Getting divorced is more complicated. Insurance needs often change during the separation, and then again once the divorce decree and property settlement are final. Unless you have appropriate insurance in place to protect your property and provide liability coverage for both you and your spouse while you are uncoupling, your marital assets could be at risk.
Many individuals don’t realize that their insurance needs change along with their lifestyle.
While having a baby or adopting a child may not directly affect your insurance poli- cies, this wonderful addition to your family may prompt life changes that do. Perhaps you need to upgrade your car or renovate your house to add another bedroom. If you decide to hire a nanny, you’ll want to conduct a background check and conform to statutory obligations regarding workers’ compensation, disability and employment-practices liability insurance.
Many other child-associated lifestyle changes will also increase your liability risks, including carpooling and volunteering at your child’s school or recreational activities. These changes should prompt a call to your personal insurance advisor to discuss potential insurance adjustments.
CHILDREN REACHING DRIVING AGE
One of the biggest changes in your insurance situation happens when your children become licensed drivers. They have access to a significant asset at that point, and there is added liability at stake. Teens have a higher risk of distracted driving due to talking on the phone, texting or chatting with passengers. So, encourage your teens to take safe driver courses, which could help lower your insurance premium.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE CHANGES
If you’re a business owner, depending on how your business is structured, your business risks may become personal risks, unless you’ve planned ahead. When buying or selling a company or even going public with an IPO, you’llwant to evaluate your personal insurance needs as your lifestyle changes.
PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT
With retirement often comes a change in residence. If you have more than one home, this is a good time to let your insurance provider know where you plan to spend your time. Some policies, such as flood insurance, may clearly define primary residential use; and a change in occupancy may affect your coverage and premium. If you are no longer regularly commuting to work, you may save on auto insurance premiums.
These are just a few insurance issues at hand during some key life changes. Communicate regularly with your personal risk advisor, and he or she can help you navigate additional insurance nuances and provide you with peace of mind that you have the right insurance plan in place.