COLUMBUS – The start of a new year is the perfect reason to evaluate your insurance protections. Changing life circumstances for you and your family may mean you have different insurance needs. This is an opportunity to potentially save on how much you pay for insurance and to know you have adequate financial protection.
“Even without significant life changes, conducting an insurance review with an agent and comparison-shopping insurance products could lead to savings and more suitable insurance coverage,” Ohio Department of Insurance interim director Tynesia Dorsey said.
Dorsey shared these insurance considerations for a new year review:
- Changes in the areas of marriage, divorce, children, loans, employment, or retirement may mean life insurance alterations.
- Life events can be a reason to increase or decrease benefits, adjust certain policy features such as insured riders or interest-bearing options, and to update beneficiaries.
- Review your annual statement to verify if your current premium meets or exceeds the policy’s costs. Your annual statement also provides information on your outstanding loan amounts. This may affect your cash value or death benefit and interest credited to the policy’s cash value.
Homeowners and Renters Insurance
- Your choice of coverage limits, deductibles, and endorsements are important factors impacting the premium amount.
- Report any recent major home improvements to your agent. This may impact your property value and the amount of insurance to properly insure your home.
- Flood insurance is not included in standard homeowners and renters policies. It must be purchased separately and a 30-day waiting period applies until coverage begins. Inquire if you have to purchase separate coverage for damage caused by a sewer or drain back-up.
- Listing your possessions with photos and their values will prove worthwhile in a claim filing situation. A home inventory app and checklist is available via www.naic.org and www.insurance.ohio.gov.
- Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver. Raising or lowering this amount can affect your premium.
- Liability coverage pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low you may be legally exposed for any damages above your liability limits.
- Download the free WreckCheck app. After an accident it will help you gather necessary information, assist with claim filing and send information to your agent.
- If you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will not have to pay. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given to Ohioans at no out-of-pocket cost.
- You may have recently enrolled or changed your health insurance through your employer, Medicare or Ohio’s federal exchange. Be sure you have new insurance cards and paperwork before visiting a doctor.
- Check your insurer’s provider lists to be certain your doctors, specialists and hospitals are still covered by your policy. In-network or preferred provider lists can change over time.
- Read through your documents and make note of co-pays and co-insurance amounts for in-network and out-of-network providers to be prepared for possible out-of-pocket costs.
- After receiving Explanation of Benefits information following medical care, verify if benefits were correctly applied to your in-network and out-of-network deductible and your out-of-pocket maximum costs. If you disagree with how benefits were applied, contact your health plan directly to request an appeal.
Consumers with insurance questions can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 for free and unbiased assistance and visit www.insurance.ohio.gov for information.