Your Money: Are you sure you’re insured?
I’m a believer in over-insuring. Rather than mess around with seeing how cheap a premium I can get each year, I want the bells and whistles. Outside of the basic three (auto/home/life), there are many things in life you’d be surprised you can get insurance for.Have you ever heard of pet insurance? We’ve had insurance for over 10 years now, and we’ve always been happy with our claims approval rate and the reimbursements. In our personal experience, we’ve broken even every year on preventative maintenance alone, and during the more expensive years of ACL tears and back injuries, we’ve found great value in our insurance plan. Our vet once joked that he’s never seen a dog with insurance have a really big accident, and we’re OK with that, too. Perhaps we’re buying some good karma for our four-legged buddy.Umbrella policies are another type of valuable insurance. While my terminology is probably incorrect, I consider this an upgrade to our homeowner’s insurance. It’s an extra policy sold by most insurance agencies that costs about $200 or less per year and protects your family in the case of a dog bite, someone falling off your trampoline, or slipping on ice on your driveway. If you work face-to-face with an insurance agent, they are great about educating their customers, but in the age of online insurance companies, this advice is not always passed along.Even if you have great insurance, it’s important to do a little legwork to protect yourself. If you ever have a catastrophic loss, such as a pipe burst or fire, your insurance company will ask you for a list of your home contents. This can be very hard to come up after the fact, so I think it’s very important to take photos of every room in your home, including closets and drawers, so that you have both a starting place to detail out your contents and some evidence if your list is challenged. Of course, once you take the photos you need to store them somewhere other than your home, otherwise they’ll be destroyed in the catastrophic event as well.With life insurance, there may be some circumstances where it’s not necessary, but I am a big believer, especially if there are children involved. When working with joint custody issues, I usually recommend one parent pays the premium for the other parent. For example, parent A would pay parent B’s premiums, that way if something were to happen to parent B, parent A knows he/she has insurance in place. Since parent B does not benefit from the insurance, all too often I see those premiums go unpaid when money gets tight. This is a way to guarantee coverage without having to rely on another party to pay their bills.I can’t stress enough that you should ask your own personal insurance agent about these ideas. Every family is different, and what works for one won’t work for all. But, no matter what, it’s good to give some thought to your personal situation each year to make sure you’re covered!Michele Knight, owner of Knight Accounting & Technology, is a CPA and QuickBooks ProAdvisor based in Dillon. For more info and to contact her, visit http://www.cpamichele.com.
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