Thursday, January 14, 2016 / by Vanessa Saunders
The types of things you should or could have insurance for vary as widely as the types of coverage and plans that are available for you. So the first thing you need to do is take a look at the assets that you own and decide if that item is something that a) is currently insured, b) can be insured, or c) should be insured.
There are some obvious assets in your portfolio that have statutory requirements that you carry insurance. There may even be rules on minimum coverage requirements. For example, all states require that you have car insurance. Lenders most often require that you obtain homeowners insurance in order to mitigate the possibility of loss for them. Landlords and storage units usually require that you have some form of renters insurance. These are but a few of the many instances that would require you to be insured.
Now to the question: should you consolidate your types of coverage? There are two primary reasons why a person would choose to consolidate. One, it is much easier to keep track of and make payments to a single insurance company. Otherwise, if you had five different policies from five different providers, you could spend a significant amount of time keeping track of when payment is due, writing out checks to each one, constantly dealing with renewal deadlines, speaking with different representatives about claims or plan modifications, along with a myriad of other administrative issues.
Second, and most important, the reason to consolidate is the simple fact that it may be less expensive to pay a single company. Most insurers charge you a monthly surcharge. Therefore, if you paid your auto, home, business, or other plan each month, you would be wasting heaps of money in these charges.
A significant benefit from consolidating your policies with one entity is the benefit of economies of scale. Multiple policies equate to multiple discounts, which lower your cost overall. So even if insurance for your car is higher with a given insurer, the overall discounts of having your home, business, and other assets may, in fact, lower your annual expenditure.
Taking the Next Step
When your insurance is all in one place, it's also easier to see the missing pieces. For example, what happens if you have a claim on your insurance that is not covered by the policy or if the amount required to rectify the incident exceeds your policy limits?
This is where an umbrella policy comes in. An umbrella policy is a liability insurance plan that is used to cover the gaps in your existing plans and pay up to specific policy limits above and beyond your general coverage. And it can be surprisingly affordable.
The key thing to remember is to protect your assets and limit your liability with the correct coverage. Sometimes consolidation is the best way to accomplish both goals. If you have multiple policies, it is well worth looking into.