With the holiday season behind us, we are now faced with the harsh truth the winter brings. Gone are the cheerful holiday decorations and lights. Cold, grey January days have replaced holiday cheer. There are some of us that are invigorated by the New Year, hopeful of all the possibilities it brings. Others are suffering from holiday hangovers – credit card debt, holiday weight gain and overindulging in celebrations. Regardless of how you feel about January, it is a prime time for self evaluation.
January has been known as the month for consumers to take care of themselves. Television commercials for weight loss programs and products flood the market, along with dating sites. Home décor and white sales speak to home improvements. In addition to losing weight, and finding the right partner, and improving your living space, it is also a time to evaluate your financial well being. For me, financial well being includes credit card spending and debt, savings and budgets, as well as insurance ownership. While it is not a fun topic, and won’t make you smile at the end of the day, it is necessary.
This past weekend while I was recovering from a lingering cold, I thought about my own insurance health. Here are the questions I asked myself when I thought about my coverage:
The enrollment period for healthcare coverage ends February 15th. Whether or not you are covered by your employer, you should evaluate your current coverage to make sure it meets your needs. Are the co-payments and deductibles reasonable? Does the network include the doctors and hospitals you prefer? Does coverage include preventative services? How easy is it to get answers to questions and approvals for procedures?
Auto / Homeowners / Renters
Is this policy at its optimal level for you? Have you maintained enough coverage for all of the new purchases and improvements you have made over the past year? Even if the renewal notice is not due for a few more months, this is a good time of year to take stock of your needs and what is actually covered. Waiting until the next premium renewal notice is received may prevent you from taking your time and thoroughly researching the options.
Does your policy fit your current and future lifestyle? What significant changes in your life have occurred since you purchased the policy? Is this the right amount of coverage? Does the policy have waivers of premium or other riders? Is there cash value associated with the policy that you can borrow against? Do rates increase as you age? Will you outlive the length of the policy?
The checklist of questions I asked myself is the same questions that we recommend our insurance clients ask their current policy holders and prospects. Most often, consumers do not have insurance at top of mind. Reminding consumers that they should perform an annual checkup is important. Sometimes they are hard to acknowledge or even contemplate, but they are important.
I may not have come up with all of the answers for myself in two days, I have at least begun to put together my checklist for insurance review. It sure beats putting together a spending budget and reviewing my credit card bills. That I will save for another time, when I am feeling well enough to face those questions.