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Time for an insurance check-up

Posted January 16, 2013 in Advice Column

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance coverage? Just as getting an annual medical check-up is a sensible way to maintain your health, reviewing your insurance policies annually can provide peace of mind and may save you money. As you review your policies, here are some questions to keep in mind:

Homeowners insurance
• Does my coverage keep up with current rebuilding costs? If your home sustains serious damage due to a fire or a severe storm, does your policy cover rebuilding costs? If not, you might want to consider increasing your coverage.

• Does my recent home renovation affect my coverage? If you have added square footage to your home recently, its value may have changed. Check with your insurance agent about increasing your coverage.

• Does my policy cover new purchases? If you bought a new appliance or computer over the last year, make sure your policy covers replacement costs due to a fire or theft.

• When was the last time I had my luxury items appraised? If you have expensive items such as jewelry, furs, coins, artwork and antiques that have not been appraised recently, you might want to consider doing so. Having up-to-date insurance can help take some of the sting out of replacement costs in case of theft or damage.

• How can I lower my premiums? If your premiums are too high, consider raising your deductible. A higher deductible could lower your premiums, but will also make you more responsible for a greater portion of each covered loss.

Auto insurance
• My teen recently got a driver’s license. How does that affect my auto insurance? If your teen is now driving, let your agent know, and be prepared for your family auto insurance premiums to rise. If your teen stays on your insurance, it is still cheaper than purchasing a separate policy. But keep in mind that insurers may offer discounts to high school and college students who maintain a B average and complete driver-safety program. Students who complete a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program may get a lower rate.

• Can joining a carpool help lower my rates? By driving less, you can lower your auto premiums because you are putting fewer miles on your vehicle per year.

• Does my car’s value affect my insurance? If you have a much older vehicle, look up its value online to see if carrying collision and comprehensive coverage is still cost-effective. If the car’s book value is low, it might not make sense to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage.

• What else can I do to lower my rates? If you increase your deductible, you can substantially reduce your monthly premiums.

Information provided by Jerry Goebel, State Farm Insurance, 1209 Superior St., Webster City. For more information, call 515-832-4066.

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