Now that the holiday rush is over, it’s time to assess what you hope to accomplish this year. You may have already decided to work out more, eat healthier, or pay off debt—but is choosing the right insurance policy on your 2014 resolution list?
If it isn’t, it should be. Buying the right insurance policy can help protect your family, your property, and your assets.
Here are five types of insurance you may want to consider purchasing in 2014:
1. Travel insurance. If you plan to travel in 2014, you should know that your homeowners and health insurance policies offer little, if any, coverage. This is true whether your travel will be within the U.S. or abroad. In addition, the Affordable Care Act and any new health policies effective on January 1 will further limit coverage to within the state you reside.
Accidents or illness while traveling happen every day, and a travel insurance policy may cover costs related to trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses incurred while traveling, or the loss of baggage and personal items.
Many people assume that travel insurance can only be purchased through a travel agent or an airline or that it is automatically included when purchasing an airline ticket, making hotel reservations, or traveling on a business trip. This is not true—your independent insurance agent can help you purchase a travel protection plan that best suits your needs.
2. Wedding insurance. Are you or one of your children planning to tie the knot in 2014? If so, you may want to consider wedding insurance. Planning a wedding is a happy time, but it can also be very stressful, and you want to ensure you are doing everything you can so the big day goes off without a hitch.
Wedding insurance can reimburse you if severe weather forces you to postpone your wedding or if a vendor goes out of business and you lose your deposit. It can also cover you if a wedding dress, tuxedo, or wedding ring is lost or damaged; if a photographer takes photos with defective film or loses your photos; if the bride or groom is unexpectedly called to active military duty or if his or her military service leave is revoked; if a vendor becomes unavailable and you need to find a replacement; or if the bride or groom or his or her parents suddenly fall ill.
You can also add this coverage as an option on your individual liability policy to help protect you against liability should there be an alcohol-related incident.
3. Flood insurance. No one knows what horrific storms or catastrophes lie before us in 2014, but it’s important to think about the lessons learned in 2013 and to remember how important flood insurance can be.
Flooding can be caused by a variety of events, including overflowing lakes, rivers, or streams or melting snow or ice. Even broken sewer mains can cause flooding, a situation that can be covered by flood insurance if the break floods two or more homes.
A flood insurance policy can give you peace of mind, especially if your home is close to a body of water. The National Flood Insurance Program has revised its rates and guidelines, making flood insurance more expensive, but purchasing flood coverage can mean the difference between having money to start over and having nothing after a flood event.
4. An umbrella policy. There are a number of reasons you might want to purchase an umbrella policy in 2014. Liability awards can top out at well over a million dollars, and an umbrella policy protects your hard-earned assets in the event of an unforeseen lawsuit.
If, for example, you plan to purchase a new primary or vacation residence, earn a higher salary, or get married, or if your son or daughter is going to start driving or head to college, you should consider purchasing an umbrella policy. Any big life change warrants a chat with your insurance agent to discuss whether an umbrella policy is right for you.
5. A valuable items policy. If you received the gifts of your dreams this holiday season—such as jewelry, camera equipment, furs, antiques, or collectables—you may want to insure them under a valuable items or floater policy. Don’t just assume that your homeowners, renters, or condo policy will cover any of these things, as most policies offer only limited peril coverage for unscheduled valuables.
Call your agent today to confirm coverage or to add a valuable items floater to your present insurance portfolio. This will provide you with all-risk, worldwide coverage for the named items, and you will not be subject to any deductible in the event of a claim.
You may not keep all of your New Year’s resolutions, but if you keep only one, make it your resolution to protect your family and your assets with the proper insurance coverage.
Heidi Petschauer Fox graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., in 1983 with a B.S. in management. She joined her late father’s firm, Petschauer Insurance, in 1982, became principal in 1995, and now shares ownership with her partner and cousin, Erwin Petschauer. She received her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997. She currently facilitates the professional and creative development of the entire Petschauer team and manages the personal lines and social media departments.