January is an excellent time to reconsider your needs on homeowners / renters’ / auto insurance.
As a new year starts, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) wants to remind people that now is a good time to review your homeowners or renters’ insurance, as well as your auto insurance.
Why now? The change of calendar gives us a reminder to do something which is all too easy to not think about the rest of the year. It’s like replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors when the clocks change. (Speaking of smoke detectors, if you haven't already done so, let your insurance agent know if you have smoke detectors or an alarm system, as you may be eligible for policy discounts.)
There’s a lot of information in your policy - information that is important to your coverage and your wallet. And it may be the coverage you want or there might be a better option. Maybe you could save money on premiums by moving to higher deductibles, or maybe you want to lower your deductibles. You may also be eligible for discounts or new insurance products that could better fit your needs. Whatever the case, it’s a good time to review your coverage, see if it still meets your needs, ask questions and maybe do some comparison shopping.
And you can always talk to your agent or insurance company to get help determining whether your current policies provide adequate coverage.
Homeowners / Renters’ Insurance
When reviewing your homeowners or renters’ insurance, think about what’s changed over the last year. Do you have new, expensive possessions that you received over the holidays? What about other things you’ve acquired this year? Will your insurance cover the full value of these items if they are damaged or stolen? Also, consider liability coverage. For example, if you got a new puppy or a trampoline for the holidays, you may want to check with your insurance agent or company to ensure that you have the necessary liability coverage.
Homeowners, you’ll also want to make sure your home and homeowners insurance are ready for the seasonal threats coming - snow, the spring run-off, high winds, hail and wildfires.
For homeowners living near places that have been impacted by recent wildfires, areas near burn scars are more susceptible to flooding. Know that standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage from floods (or water coming up from the drains). You’ll need a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home against floods. Ask your insurance agent about flood insurance or visit floodsmart.gov.
This is also a great time to create a home inventory of your possessions (or update one if you already have an inventory). There are apps and other tools out there to help you take photos or videos and create a home inventory that will not only help in case of a disaster, but can give you a better idea of the coverage you need.
Your auto insurance needs commonly change from year to year. As your car gets older, it may require less insurance - maybe you don’t need comprehensive coverage any longer. But as your kids get older, you might need more insurance. Maybe your kids have moved out and have their own auto insurance now. Or maybe the kids have moved back home due to the pandemic. Either way, you want to make sure your coverage is right.
Review the list below to see what other things you need to think about when it comes to your auto insurance. Talk to your agent or insurance company to get information and make decisions.
- Make sure your coverage is appropriate for your life situation. Liability is the part of the policy that pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
- 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 or by an uninsured driver. Raising or lowering this amount can affect your premium.
- Do you have medical payments or uninsured motorists coverage? These types of coverage pay medical costs if you are injured in an automobile accident. However, such coverage does mean more in premiums.
- What about the outdoor toys? Do you have your boat, boating equipment and recreational vehicles such as ATVs (and their trailers) properly insured?
Resolve to Review
Make it your new year's resolution to review your insurance policies, coverages and any new insurance needs, and to discuss these and any limits and discounts with your insurance agent or company. And don't forget to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
Remember that the Division of Insurance is a consumer resource. We can help you with the terminology, verify what your agent or company tells you and just generally help you understand the world of insurance. We also investigate your complaints. Contact our dedicated Consumer Services Team: 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us. Or visit our website, doi.colorado.gov, and check out our Consumer Resources page.
About the Division of Insurance:
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit doi.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.
DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675.