As Ohioans turn the page to a New Year, Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor says it is a good idea to evaluate your coverage needs for 2014 with your family, and agent or insurance company. You can also utilize the Department’s consumer guides and other information at www.insurance.ohio.gov to brush up on your insurance knowledge.
“January is an ideal time to evaluate and fine-tune your insurance needs for the year ahead,” Taylor said. “You can never be too-sure when taking steps to financially protect yourself, your family and important possessions.”
Taylor offered these tips and reminders to help with your review:
Update your home inventory: Update your home inventory and make sure your homeowner’s or renter’s policy is up-to-date with respect to any significant changes to your home or its contents. A free smartphone app, myHOME Scr.APP.book from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play. A paper version is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. Include as many details as you can and take a photo of each item.
Separate coverage limits: Most insurance policies have separate coverage sub-limits for items like electronics, art, jewelry or sporting equipment. If you have big-ticket items or multiple items of a particular category, you may want to discuss insuring these items separately.
Have adequate liability coverage: Liability coverage pays for injury to persons or damage to property if you cause an accident. If liability coverage limits are too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
Adjusting your comprehensive and collision coverage: Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled when a claim is submitted to your insurer. Adjusting these deductible amounts can affect your premium.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage: Provides financial protection if you have an accident with a driver that has no auto insurance or has liability limits that are lower than yours.
Insurance information and accident: Keep a copy of your insurance card and your insurance agent or company’s number in your cell phone or car. It is also important to be able to record details if you are involved in an accident. The NAIC free smartphone app WreckCheck walks you through the process of gathering information following an accident. Guard your personal information and only provide your name and insurance information. You can email your notes directly to your agent.
Employer open enrollment: Many families recently went through the open enrollment process for their health insurance at work or Medicare open enrollment, which means you may have new insurance cards and paperwork coming in the mail.
Make sure to check your provider lists to verify visits to your doctor and any specialists are still covered by your policy, as in-network or preferred provider lists change from year to year. Also read through your documents and make note of your copays for in-network and out-of-network providers so you are not surprised later.
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. Information is also available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow the Ohio Department of Insurance on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.