Get Ready: Avoid Costly Surprises

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

They’ve recently launched a new “Get Ready” campaign:

For many, insurance only matters when something bad happens and we need to file a claim or lodge a complaint. But the best time to get educated about insurance is when you’re in the process of making a major life decision, like buying a new car, but before a related crisis, like a car accident.

That window of time between decision and crisis is why Insure U developed Get Ready resources. These new resource kits help consumers considering a major life event get smart about the insurance implications before a crisis occurs. The goal is to avoid hasty, uninformed and costly misunderstandings later.

They’ve compiled new toolkits, games and apps on several of these life events:

  • Planning a Wedding
  • Buying a Home
  • Buying a Car
  • Becoming Parents
  • Changing Jobs
  • Turning 50

As a credible, trusted source for consumer insurance information, they deserve a place in your bookmarks. NAIC offers educational resources at Insure U, important consumer protection resources, where you can file a complaint, report fraud, or research more about insurers. You can also find information for contacting your state insurance authorities.

Life events that should trigger a call to your insurance agent

All too often, people only think about insurance when they have a loss or when it’s time for an annual insurance policy such as auto or homeowners to renew. That’s just human nature. Yet insurance is an important part of financial planning and deserves more consideration than a quick search for the cheapest quote come renewal. As with any other purchase, cheapest is not always the best purchasing criteria – you get what you pay for. While there is certainly no sense in spending more than you need to, you should be sure that the insurance package you buy will provide sufficient coverage for your particular situation. The question lies in what’s sufficient coverage – and that may very well vary over the course of your life. Insurance is essentially a form of financial risk management that is designed to protect an individual or a business from loss resulting from adverse life events. A single person in their 20s will have very different coverage needs than a middle-aged parent who owns a home and has several dependents.

When certain major life events occur, they should trigger a review of insurance coverage. You may need to add a new type of coverage, you may want to raise or lower deductibles on an existing policy, or there may be opportunities for savings or discounts. Your independent insurance agent will be able to inform you about various coverage options – but can only advise you based upon what he or she knows. It’s good to keep insurance coverage in the back of your mind, and get in the habit of making a call or dropping a note to your local agent when you experience a major life event, such as any of the following:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Military deployment
  • Purchasing a new home, condo, or a second home
  • Home renovation
  • Adding buildings to your property
  • Renting out your home
  • Moving to a new geographic area
  • Renting an apartment
  • A teen child getting an auto license
  • Changing jobs and job benefits
  • Starting a small business
  • Acquiring expensive electronics, antiques, jewelry, furs, or specialty collections
  • Acquiring a recreational vehicle – boat, motorcycle, snowmobile
  • Joining a carpool
  • Retiring

Congratulations on your new baby, August parents! Don’t forget insurance …

group of babies needing insurance
Have you just had a new baby or are you expecting one soon? If so, you are part of a demographic trend. More babies are born in August than in any other month, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. September is the second-highest month, and while Tuesday has traditionally been the highest day of the week for births, Wednesday has been edging it out in recent years. See more interesting facts on birth and motherhood at the US Census Mother’s Day press release. The government keeps track of a lot of interesting data related to births. You can find out the most popular baby names by year on the Social Security website – or view the cute video version of top baby names. You can even find the most popular names by region.
Now check your insurance!
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests steps that new parents should take to protect their growing family by checking insurance coverage. Anytime you experience a major life event – such as a marriage, a birth, a death, a new home – it’s important to remember to review your insurance policies. With a new baby, health insurance and life insurance are both coverages that should be reviewed to ensure that you are adequately protected. NAIC suggests there may also be auto and homeowners insurance considerations.
The Social Security office also reminds parents to register your child for a Social Security number, which you need to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return, and may be necessary for medical coverage, setting up financial accounts, or eligibility for government-sponsored services.