Fear is an important motivator when it comes to buying insurance. We worry about what will happen to assets like cars or homes if they are involved in a disaster, so we buy insurance to help us maintain their financial integrity if something should happen.
But in spite of the fact that insurance is designed for this purpose, sometimes it can’t give us the outcome we expect. That’s not because of something inherently wrong with the policy, but rather it is the result of human failure. When you bought your policy, you might have failed to take into consideration the level of coverage you really needed, and what you have isn’t sufficient to restore your assets to pre-disaster condition.
That’s just one of the most common insurance mistakes that could end up costing you. Here are some others:
- Thinking you’re saving money because you bought the cheapest policy you could find – Initially those low premiums will seem like a savings; but if the cost of an accident ends up being more than your policy coverage limits, the rest of the expense will be out-of-pocket. In addition, the other parties involved could sue you, and if you don’t have any coverage, you could end up losing a large part of your assets.
- Failing to pay your premiums on time, or not at all – There could be a legitimate instance in which you don’t pay on time. However, when you don’t pay, your insurance company isn’t required to cover you. To avoid a disruption in coverage, set up automatic payments through your bank or insurer.
- Making assumptions about what is covered – There are limitations to the coverage a Homeowners or Auto policy will provide for high-ticket items. You should never assume that all of your possessions are covered. What you can do is add extra coverage to your policy with an endorsement, which gives you higher limits on these types of items.
- Overlooking the importance of Umbrella Liability policies – These policies got their name because they protect you from a financial downpour. They can be purchased separately or you can obtain one from the same company that insures your car or home. Buying from the insurer you already have usually entitles you to a premium discount on the liability coverage. Umbrella policies are usually sold in increments of a million dollars. Generally you would pay between $100 to $300 a year for the first million dollars worth of coverage and another $50 to $100 for each additional million. Keep in mind that when determining your premium, your insurer may take into consideration such factors as the number of traffic tickets you’ve received during the past few years, and your credit report.
- Failing to inform your insurance agent about changes that could affect your coverage needs – If you’ve added on to your home, or purchased an expensive sound system, you need to contact your agent to see if the policy you have still meets your needs. Your agent can also find ways to help you save money on premiums that won’t affect the quality of your coverage such as enrolling in a driver safety class, installing a home security system, increasing your deductible, or taking advantage of multi-policy or good student discounts.