Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Making Informed Insurance Decisions for a New Year

The start of each year often inspires people to improve their lives. This year, the experts at suggest that people broaden their list of New Year resolutions by evaluating their personal life, auto and homeowners insurance needs for the coming year.

During the last year, people may have seen pay raises, higher monthly expenses or the birth of a new baby. These kinds of changes in circumstances and responsibilities can significantly effect a family's insurance requirements.

" recommends that policyholders take a more active role in managing their insurance coverage this year," said Steven Paul, vice president at, the online insurance resource. "They can start by understanding their policy needs, then shopping around and comparing their current rates with other providers."

The insurance resolutions are simple:

Resolution #1 - Life Insurance

Carry Enough Coverage: "I will not fall short in protecting my family's future." While people do not like to dwell on the subject of life insurance, policyholders should understand how much coverage they need to protect themselves and their families. The life insurance coverage most people carry is not sufficient, which can lead to a false sense of security. Policyholders should resolve to carefully think about their family's future needs and evaluate whether their current policy would adequately protect their family in the case of misfortune. offers a few guidelines to help policyholders establish the appropriate amount of coverage, beyond the need for "final costs," such as funeral expenses. Regardless of which spouse is the primary breadwinner, both need to carry coverage to replace any lost income or rise in household expenses if one were to die. In addition to purchasing coverage that would provide regular income, policyholders should consider adding more protection to cover the sum of their outstanding debt, as well as adequate protection to cover six months of emergency living expenses for their family. Finally, some policyholders may choose to purchase still more protection in the amount needed to ensure a college education for all of their children.

Resolution #2 - Homeowners Insurance

Maximize Existing Coverage: "I will ensure my policy fits both my property and liability needs."
Because homeowners insurance offers a broad ran
ge of protection, determining the right amount and type of coverage can be confusing. While property insurance covers the structure of a home and its contents, carrying the appropriate amount of liability coverage provides equally important protection for personal liability, medical payments, damage to someone else's property and personal injury to others. Without adequate liability insurance, homeowners could put themselves at risk for a catastrophic financial loss, if, for example, they were responsible for an accident that resulted in a lawsuit.

Liability typically provides coverage for up to $100,000 in damages. However, some homeowners may decide they need a higher level of coverage based on their individual situations.

Resolution #3 - Auto Insurance

Be an Educated Consumer: "I will not renew my auto insurance passively."

Each year, many drivers receive their car insurance renewals by mail and file them away without a second glance. With auto insurance costs rising, drivers should consider a more proactive approach to renewing their policies this year. The experts at suggest drivers shop around and consider the following questions before renewing their auto insurance for the coming year:
  • Does their current provider offer competitive rates?
  • Is the underwriting insurance company financially solid and able to support claims?
  • What discounts are offered by their provider and are they receiving all of the discounts for which they are eligible?
  • What level of customer service does their current insurer offer? Does the company provide extended hours of operation, 24-hour claims service and knowledgeable staff?

Taking time to review insurance coverage and comparison-shop for competitive rates can help drivers save money on their insurance policies in the coming year.



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