10 lifestyle milestones that should involve insurance policy review

Did you know that…

if you blog about someone they could sue you for defamation of character?

if your lawn person hurts their back, you could be liable for their disability compensation?

if your home is covered for 150% of replacement cost, you could still come up short on money to rebuild?

Don’t wait for an unforeseen incident to occur and then discover your insurance policies don’t cover what you thought they did. It pays to check your coverage regularly and update the policies and your overall risk management strategy before there’s a problem.

In addition, these 10 lifestyle milestones should always prompt a fresh look at your policies and protections:

10) First apartment

apartmentThe most over-looked milestone for evaluating insurance coverage is graduation from college. When you move into your first apartment, you may not have a lot of stuff, but if it’s stolen or damaged by a neighbor’s overflowing bathtub, you have nothing! And if you’re just starting out, you might not have the money to replace what you’ve lost. Renters insurance costs just $10-12/month yet could save you thousands of dollars replacing your computer, iPod, clothes & other items.

9) Blogging & Social Media Posting

blogDid you know that blogging & social media posting could expose you to huge liability? Defamation of character lawsuits are one of the fastest-growing areas of the law right now — and the Washington area is notoriously active when it comes to lawsuits. Both renters and homeowners insurance provide essential protection in the form of liability coverage that will pay legal fees if you happen to be sued.

 8) Engagement

weddDid you know that theft is not the biggest reason to insure that engagement ring? According to insurance statistics, the #1 risk is having an argument. In heat of the moment, the engagement ring often gets tossed – and lost. It’s a big loss, too, since engagement rings typically cost $2,500-$10,000. People mistakenly believe their “rock” is covered by their renters or homeowners policy. Well, it may be, but those policies do not cover “mysterious disappearance” (as when the ring gets tossed out a window). But add a simple “all risk” rider to your policy and that ring is covered -with no deductible. You can also consider a valuable item insurance coverage policyhttp://www.mcleaninsurance.com/services/personal-asset-protection/valuable-items-insurance/!

7) Starting a Family

babyWhen children are involved, both spouses need life insurance. Often, however, non-working spouses are not covered. This can leave the surviving spouse struggling to cover ongoing financial commitments and new costs such as daycare or counseling for the children.

 

6) Buying a first home

homeYour lender will require homeowners insurance but protecting yourself at this stage in life requires a fresh look at your growing assets – and liabilities. For starters, you want to make sure the amount of your liability coverage is equal to or greater than the value of your assets. So take a look at what have already acquired and what you will acquire do the road as you begin to furnish that home.

 

5) Accumulating assets

umbrellaIf you own a home, vehicles, or investments, they could be at risk in a lawsuit. People are quick to sue and judges and juries can be very generous in awarding compensation for future earnings. Those awards could far exceed the liability coverage of your · automobile and homeowners policies. For starters, there would be your legal and court costs. Then, suppose a jury awarded $700,000 in damages but your policy only provides $150,000 liability coverage: coming up with the $550,000 balance could mean losing everything you own. You can prevent personal exposure with a liability umbrella policy that keeps your home and personal property from being put “on the table” in a lawsuit.

4) Volunteer activities       

teamDo you coach your kids’ ball team, lead a Scout troop, or sit on the board of your condo or homeowner’s association? A variety of scenarios could leave you facing a personal liability lawsuit. Again, you’ll sleep far better knowing you have a liability umbrella policy in place.

3) Household help

nannyComplying with immigration laws and tax reporting is standard. If you employ a housekeeper, nanny, or other household help, you could be held personally responsible for medical bills or disability costs. For instance, if your nanny trips over a teddy bear and falls down the stairs, the injuries — and costs — could be staggering. Yet for about $500-600 a year, you can put domestic workers coverage in place so that if something happens, it’s the policy (not your personal assets) that pays medical and even disability costs.

 2) Handyman services

handySure, it’s nice to pay less for lawn care or gutter cleaning. But if the people you hire don’t have their own worker’s compensation insurance, you could wind up liable. Suppose, for example, your gutter cleaner falls off his ladder and injures his back. If he’s not covered by workers’ comp, expect a letter from his attorney asking you to pay medical costs. Your homeowner’s policy would pay, but medical costs for a serious illness or long-term disability can quickly exceed what your policy provides. It pays to use pros that carry their own insurance and to make sure you have your own liability umbrella policy in place.

1) Milestone birthdays

cabdleWhat if you had a car accident and had to spend six months in a rehabilitation center? Your medical insurance may not cover that stay. And what happens when you or your parents can’t live independently? Fees at nursing homes and assisted living facilities can run S6,000 a month – a cost Medicare doesn’t pay. A long-term care (LTC) policy covers these expenses. The younger you buy the policy, the lower the premiums. Even if a parent is elderly, it pays to weigh the cost of the LTC coverage. Some seniors feel they don’t need LTC because they can always sell their home. Unfortunately, selling a home in today’s tough real estate market could take a year. How will you cover the $72,000 costs in the meantime? An LTC policy takes that worry away.

Changing home value

rebuildEven if the value of your home has fallen, construction costs are rising. If your house were destroyed by a fire or other disaster, that could leave you short on insurance money to rebuild and unable to refinance or borrow the difference. To avoid surprises, check yow homeowners policy to see what “replacement cost” really covers. Chances are; if replacement costs exceed your current dwelling coverage, the insurance company will pay an additional amount — usually 125% or 150% of your coverage. But even that extra may not cover replacement as soaring fuel and raw materials prices continue to drive construction costs sky high. To avoid coming up tens -even hundreds — of thousands dollars short, ask about a policy that provides guaranteed replacement cost.

 

At McLean Insurance, we’ve developed a TrueRisk ProfileSM for evaluating personal risk management strengths and vulnerabilities. This is our first step in developing a comprehensive asset protection plan for each of our clients. We would be happy to provide you -with a free consultation! Contact PJ Baker at (703) 637-4335 or pjbaker@mcleaninsurance.com to make an appointment.

 

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Personal Asset Protection, Renters Insurance

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