‘Peace of mind’ knowing life, health, and property are protected
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr today released the following statement encouraging Arkansans to use the occasion of the start of the new year to review their insurance polices to ensure they are properly protected in cases of loss, damage, illness or death:
“A change in the calendar is a good time for Arkansans to take stock and review their insurance coverage—if only for the peace of mind that comes from knowing their life, health, and property are protected. I encourage consumers to speak to their local insurance agent to make sure their insurance fulfills their needs and those of their families.”
Commissioner Kerr offered some tips to start the process:
- Update your home inventory of items to be sure your homeowners or renters policy is current for your needs. Note any antique items, collectibles, sporting or recreational equipment and their values.
- Make sure to ask your agent about flood insurance.
- When completing your home inventory, include as many details as you can, and take a photo of each item. If you’ve never taken an inventory of your home and need some assistance, a free smartphone app is available from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). You can get the “MyHome Scr.APP.book” from iTunes or Google Play stores.
- You can also visit our Brochures section at http://Insurance.Arkansas.gov to download your own Inventory Checklist.
- Liability is the part of your auto insurance policy that pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
- Also take a look at your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver. Raising or lowering deductible amounts can affect your premium.
- Before going on a vacation, make sure you have a copy of your insurance card and your insurance agent or company's number in the car.
- The NAIC also offers the “WreckCheck” smartphone app in the iTunes and Google Play stores. The app walks you through the process of gathering information following a crash. You can then email your notes directly to your agent.
- Make sure to check your medical provider lists to verify that visits to your doctor and any specialists are still covered by your policy, because in-network or preferred provider lists could change from time to time.
- Read through your documents and make note of your copays (the amount of money you pay up front for a provider visit) for in-network and out-of-network providers.
- When you're planning a vacation away from home, check with your insurance carrier to identify urgent care centers and hospitals that accept your insurance coverage near your destination. Be sure to ask your carrier about applicable co-pays and deductibles if care is needed.
- As your life situation changes through the years, so do your insurance needs. Do premiums or benefits vary from year to year? A regular review of your life insurance coverage is important.
- When reviewing your policy, make sure the benefit covers your current needs. Changes — such as a birth, divorce, remarriage or even a new mortgage or job — are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy.
- In the case of the birth of a child or a new marriage, you might want to increase your death benefit. Check with your agent to see if your insurance company requires a physical exam before increasing your coverage levels.
- Life changes might allow you to lower your life insurance coverage and premiums. The mortgage might be paid, you might have retired or your children might have completed college. At this stage of life, you might be eligible for “conversion privileges” from your current term life insurance policy to a new whole life insurance policy.
- One of the most important decisions to make regarding life insurance is to whom to leave your benefits. That’s why it’s important to review your beneficiaries every few years.
- The Arkansas Insurance Department can also assist you in locating life insurance policies and annuity contracts of a deceased family member or close relationship. Visit http://insurance.arkansas.gov/ and click “Life Insurance Policy Locator” on our homepage for help.
If you have questions about your insurance options or about your insurance coverage, call the AID Consumer Services Division toll free statewide at 800-852-5494.
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