10 Life Events that Change Your Insurance Needs
Getting an insurance review typically ranks low on many people’s to-do lists. And it can remain a low priority if nothing changed since you last talked with your insurance agent. But if your life circumstances have changed, your coverage needs may be different.
Asking for an insurance review is not just about shopping around and saving a few bucks on premiums, although that’s certainly a nice possibility. The most critical reason is that outdated insurance doesn’t protect you well; gaps in coverage that develop as your life changes can leave you exposed to substantial risks.
Some of life’s biggest moments present a perfect opportunity to pause and review your insurance. Everyone’s path is different, but here are 10 milestones you might arrive at, along with the coverages that tend to be most affected.
Reviewing your insurance after tying the knot is almost unavoidable. Combining your auto and umbrella policies may result in a fairly significant drop in overall premium costs. Adding life insurance also is a consideration.
Adding a Child to Your Family
This is when a significant amount of life insurance really becomes a necessity. Everything changes when there’s a little one depending on your income for college tuition, a stable home, transportation and so much more. Life insurance ensures your family will be comfortable even after you’re gone.
Buying Your First Home
A home isn’t just a place to build a life, it’s the single most important investment that many people make. A purchase this important demands a serious, holistic review of your insurance coverage with a knowledgeable agent. You’ll obviously need to purchase homeowners insurance, but also consider how umbrella insurance fits into your overall coverage needs.
Ideally, you’ll want to end any shared insurance policies as quickly as possible and establish your own policies. Keeping shared policies in effect longer than necessary just opens you to liability for the actions of your ex. Consult with your attorney to get legal advice about the best route and timing to separate your insurance policies.
Changes in Employment
Gaining or losing a job can have ripple effects on nearly every type of insurance coverage. Landing a new, higher-paying job means your liability insurance for home and auto may need to increase, because you have more earning potential for someone to go after in a lawsuit. Or perhaps your new gig requires you to use your personal vehicle more, which changes your car insurance needs. Many employers also provide benefits like life insurance or access to group insurance plans, which could offer better value than your current personal insurance. If you lose a job, your insurance needs will change. You may look for ways to save on your insurance costs.
Adding a Teen to Car Insurance
The best way to frame the risk level of a teen driver is to imagine them zipping down the road with all of your assets strapped to the roof of their car: if they cause a serious crash, it’s your finances that are at stake. Your auto insurance coverage needs a serious review when your teen begins to drive, including beefing up your uninsured motorist and liability levels. You also should look into an umbrella policy, if you don’t have one.
Opening or Closing a Business
Of course, your commercial insurance needs will change, but changes to a business situation also can affect your personal insurance. For example, when entering into a business partnership, a life insurance policy can ensure a smooth transfer of ownership if you were to pass away. If your business utilizes your home or car, you may need riders added to the associated insurance policies to ensure your business activities are covered.
Planning for your golden years involves an incredibly complex web of financial considerations. It’s not surprising then that your insurance needs may change as well. Are the kids all grown, and the home paid off? Perhaps you don’t need as much life insurance. Spending less time at home and more time exploring in an RV? Review your auto and homeowners coverage. There also are types of insurance specific to later-in-life situations that you may want to consider, such as long-term care coverage.
Inheritance and Transfer of Wealth
When your parents or another relative pass away, the last thing you want to worry about is insurance. But if you and your siblings inherit a significant amount of money or property, delaying a discussion with an agent can lead to serious financial repercussions down the road.
The Natural Passage of Time
This doesn’t really qualify as a “moment,” but your insurance needs definitely change over time even if you don’t experience one of these big life changes. The steady rise of inflation alone lowers the value of your coverage continuously; if you don’t keep up, you may find your insurance levels lacking after just 10 years.
Whether you’re in the middle of a big life change, or you’re just concerned about how well your current insurance coverage matches your needs, contacting an agent is the perfect first step.
– Written by Matt Forrest, updated in December 2022.
–Top photo is by LiudmylaSupynska/iStock.