Ready to Crunch Some Numbers?

The economy is still shaky; consumers remain a bit nervous.

This is hardly a news bulletin.  But it does make for some creative savings strategies, some better than others.  There are, after all, just as many foolish economies as there are wise ones.

We have all been spending a lot more carefully lately, coaxing as much mileage from each dollar as possible.  It may be a good time, then, to review our insurance portfolios (a grand word, I know…it could be ‘programs’ or ‘policies’…) to be sure we are not paying too much or carrying coverage we do not need.  And there is even the chance that we are under-covered in some areas, which we need to look at, too.

I hope by now you have an insurance professional worthy of your trust; if not, keep looking!  Again, a good insurance person is invaluable – and bad ones work like this:

  • They warn you not to tell your current insurer and/or family or relatives that you are thinking about changing policies.
  • They criticize other agents and companies.
  • They try their best to get you to sign forms that are incomplete or that you simply do not understand.
  • They insist that using the cash value from your present policy to pay for the new policy’s premiums will offer you an unbelievably* huge advantage.
There is no question that our insurance needs change over time.  Major life events – marriages, divorces, additional children, just getting older – all affect coverage needs.  Periodic reviews are a good idea.
The basics:
  • Type of policy:  Life, health, long-term care, property and casualty, auto, disability?  What are you looking at?  And if it is a life plan, is it a term policy? whole life? variable life? universal life?
  • Insurance carrier: Who is the insurance company that provides the coverage?  Make sure you have their customer service number as well as up-to-date contact information for the agent you worked with to buy it.
  • Policy number:  You will need this number every time you call with questions about the policy, so keep it handy.
  • Date of policy issue: You need to know the date the insurance was issued, particularly with life insurance.  Remember that term insurance has an expiration date.  Permanent insurance will have a surrender charge that may apply if you cancel the policy in the first 5 to 20 years.
  • Premium: Always, always, always keep track of the premium payments and their frequency – and how it is being covered (by quarterly check, automatic deduction from account, whatever).  If you have a ‘paid-up’ whole life policy, note this on your summary.
  • Insured: Who do the benefits apply to – you, your spouse, your children, who?
Next time: details to review; where to save; where to be careful!
* You know what this is – too good to be true is exactly that!

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