Time for an Insurance Review
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|September 2020
You may need to update your policies in light of COVID-19.
DANIEL BORTZ

THE CORONAVIRUS HAS MADE one thing abundantly clear: We all need to be prepared for an emergency. Which prompts the question: When did you last review your insurance policies?

You may want to make some changes to your auto, homeowners and life in­surance policies in light of COVID­19. “You could be paying for coverage that you don’t need anymore, or you could be lacking coverage in some areas because of the pandemic,” says Carmen Balber, executive director at Consumer Watchdog, a non­ profit consumer­advocacy organization.

Auto insurance. Chances are you received a discount from your auto insurer automati­cally. In April, a number of large insurance carriers offered their customers dis­ counts of, typically, 15%.

Many drivers realized they were barely using their cars and asked their insurers for even bigger premium adjust­ments. Scott and McKenzie Henderson of Lehi, Utah, started driving a lot less when they began working from home in March. The couple, who own two cars, decided to stop using their Dodge Stratus and share McKenzie’s Kia Optima. When they informed their insurance company, USAA, it lowered their insurance premiums to $25 a month, down from $85. “It made sense for us to start using only one car, since neither of us was commuting to work,” says Scott.

Dino Selita of Staten Is­ land, N.Y., also saved money by asking Geico, his insurer, to adjust his auto premium. Selita says he hardly drove his car in March, April or May. “I was basically leaving my house once a week to buy groceries,” he says. Selita’s insurer gave him a $500 credit. “It only took a 10­ minute phone call [to my insurance agent],” he says.

“If your car is basically parked in your driveway, you may not need the same level of collision coverage that you currently have,” says Balber. Moreover, driv­ ers who change their car’s status from “business” to “pleasure” save an average of $172 a year, according to the State of Auto Insurance 2020 report from The Zebra, an insurance brokerage.

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