You probably have insurance on your auto, home or both. But do you know these important things about your policies?
If you are targeted in a liability lawsuit and lose, the damage amount awarded could exceed the limits on your home or auto policy. But an umbrella policy’s coverage typically starts where the other policy ends. It must be purchased separately from your home and auto insurance, but it costs much less than you might expect—especially for the amount of coverage it provides.
- Travel Abroad
People are often surprised to learn their auto insurance doesn’t cover them outside of the United States and Canada. On the other hand, your homeowners insurance typically covers personal property you take with you—such as jewelry and golf clubs—no matter where you go. This does not include luggage lost by an airline, which is covered through your plane ticket purchase.
- Rental Car Coverage
Do you know how much it would cost to rent a vehicle similar to yours while it’s in the repair shop following a crash? Research that amount and compare it to the per-day rental coverage on your policy. Say, for example, you drive a minivan to ferry your four children around during the day. If the van is in a crash and spends several days in a shop, you’ll want your insurance to pay for a similar-size vehicle.
- Pets in an Accident
If your pet loves to come along for the ride when you run errands, and you love having a companion in the car with you, check your policy to see if it covers injury to the pet while it is riding in the vehicle.
- Temporary New Car Coverage
Most auto policies include a 15- to 30-day carryover of coverage from your previous car when you buy a new one.
- Job-Related Use
Unless your policy indicates your vehicle is used for business purposes—such as pizza delivery, for example, or driving for Uber—you won’t be covered if you’re in an accident while on the job.
- Make a Claim Promptly
After a crash, don’t be tempted to delay making a claim. Most policies have a window of time after a crash to make a claim. More importantly, you might jeopardize the investigation, which could affect how much of the damage is covered.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you waive this coverage, which provides protection if you are seriously injured by a driver without insurance, you risk having to pay your high medical bills out of your own pocket. The odds of that happening might be greater than you think, as 13 percent of drivers on U.S. roads have no insurance, according to the Insurance Research Council.
- Home-Based Business
If you start a new business and are managing it in your home or on your property, talk to your insurance agent to make sure your business-related property (supplies, technology) is covered.
- Long Absences From Home
Your policy requires you protect and maintain your property. If you are gone in cold winter months, it’s important to maintain heat and drain pipes and to have a family member or friend frequently check that your home is secure.
The Bottom Line- Don’t wait until you make a claim to understand your insurance coverage. Read your policies, or meet with your agent to talk them through. By JasonCh 08-12-2015