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The Insurance Guy: Happy New Insurance Year!
By David Bissaillon, iBerkshires Columnist
11:39AM / Wednesday, January 02, 2013
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Happy New Insurance Year!

No, I wasn't yelling that as 2012 became 2013, but it is worth thinking about as you pile on all the good intentions you have for the New Year. There have been lots of articles recently about resolutions, goals, objectives and high expectations many times followed shortly by disappointment, perceived failure and simply falling back into old habits.

I say, who needs that pressure? Do yourself a favor this year and pick only one area that really needs your attention and make some improvements there.

Now, I am guessing that insurance will not be on the top of your list as you brainstorm about what are the areas that need a bit of focus in your life at the current time. Physical health (yes, that is my target for the new year; it may be as simple as eating smarter, but that is not always so simple, so keep me in your thoughts for the month of January) improvements, financial, relationships, career advancement, civic involvement, etc. ... always seem to be the popular choices for improving at this time of year. If I may dare make a case for an insurance goal for 2013, please consider the following:

Auto Insurance: You owe it to yourself to make sure you are taking advantage of all of the discounts, benefits, and coverages that are available to you since Massachusetts auto insurance changed dramatically in April 2008.

When your auto insurance policy comes up for renewal, force yourself to contact your current agent and make sure that you are receiving the best value that is available to you and your family. You may even save a few hundred bucks to pay for your new gym membership. Also, check your current policy, especially look at Section 5, Optional Bodily Injury to Others. If you are only carrying $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, understand that if you were to injure someone else in an accident in which you or one of your drivers (think teenage kids) were at fault, your policy will only cover the first $20,000 of the injured person's medical bills.  

Imagine how quickly medical bills grow to $20,000. The rest will still need to come from you but it won't be from your auto policy. The point is, you should consider increasing that limit.

Homeowners Insurance: It is really important that your home and contents are insured at the proper limits. You don't want to wait until something happens at the house to realize that you do not have enough insurance to cover a loss that may occur. Typically, if you have not reviewed your specific coverage limits on your policy for a few years, you may have some changes to make.  

I would strongly encourage you to dedicate 30 minutes in 2013 to meeting with your insurance agent to review coverages, limits, pricing, etc. There are also discounts available if you have the same insurance company handling your homeowners and your auto insurance. No one likes to be surprised when the news is bad.

I am giving you the gift of a friendly reminder to make sure that you know your home is properly protected. Yes, you are welcome. And for those renting apartments, get a renter's policy now!!!!!

So, eat, drink, be merry — just get your policies out and make sure you are all set. Happy 2013!!!

Dave Bissaillon dabbles in real life while working daily as an account executive at Smith Bros.-McAndrews Insurance Agency in Adams. His occasional column will touch on insurance and other fun stuff.

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