Published: May 2015
Q: What will happen during my annual review?
A: An insurance review provides an opportunity to review your existing insurance coverage against your current needs to ensure your insurance remains appropriate to your life situation, says Maryann Bettencourt, an Allstate agency owner in Cupertino, California. It's a good time to discuss any changes in your life and how they might affect your coverage, as well as potentially increase or reduce coverages and apply discounts.
To prepare for your review, Bettencourt recommends gathering the following documentation:
"Gather all your existing insurance policies and names and driver's licenses for any new drivers in your household. If you're renting a new unit or purchased a new vehicle, bring lease or registration documentation for that, too. Odometer readings are also helpful for determining car insurance rates."
And if you're in doubt about what to bring, Bettencourt recommends calling your agent beforehand to discuss your upcoming review documentation needs.
"That's what we're here for — to guide you along the way," says Bettencourt.
While preparing for your annual review, Bettencourt suggests assessing any major life changes that have recently affected (or will soon affect) any of your insurance needs.
"Did you have a new baby this year? Maybe you'll want more life insurance coverage. Is Johnny about to turn 16 and start driving? Then, it's time to start thinking about adding him to a car insurance policy. How about major additions to your home that may have impacted its value? Or, if you're older, maybe you've recently inherited property you need covered?"
Other life changes to consider, says Bettencourt, include new recreational vehicles, such as motorcycles, boats, or jet skis, the addition of any rental units (a child renting an apartment at college is one such example), or reaching certain age milestones which might impact auto insurance premiums.
"When I meet with a client, I'll review their current insurance levels and try to paint a picture for them of the impact of their insurance coverage decisions."
In addition to reviewing your existing policies for any needed changes, the review process might also touch on new types of insurance you might find useful.
"There are lots of unexpected ways insurance can help you. Have you thought about the impact of identity theft? There are insurance products that provide coverage for that. Or, did you know that homeowners insurance can have some limitations on theft or fire risk? For example, technology and jewelry losses commonly face limitations, so you may want to consider additional coverage for these."
But the goal, says Bettencourt, isn't just to increase your coverage; it's to adjust your coverage to meet your current needs.
"What do you think your car is worth? If it's an older, low-value vehicle, full comprehensive and collision may not be worth it anymore. We're not just looking to increase coverage, but also to decrease it where needed," she says.
As part of this review process, your agent will not only cover major life changes as noted above, but also shifts in your overall financial picture that may impact the affordability of your premiums.
In addition, your agent can also help you identify discounts for which you may qualify.
"There are retirement age discounts, motor club discounts and good grade discounts for young drivers," Bettencourt said. "Don't forget to ask about any discounts for which you may qualify — we love helping our customers save money."
Your insurance policies can provide important financial protection and peace of mind for you and your family. That's why an annual insurance review is so important. If you have any questions about the annual insurance review process, contact your agent or insurance provider.