When you visit your doctor, it's a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions to ask. May I suggest that you use the same idea for your next visit with your insurance professional? Three questions that I suggest are as follows:
1. WHAT THINGS ARE NOT COVERED UNDER MY POLICY?
2. WHAT COVERAGES AM I MISSING? WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY RISK?
3. IF I HAVE A CLAIM, HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR AGENCY GOING TO HELP ME?
Every insurance policy has certain things that are excluded from coverage. These are known as policy exclusions. Smart consumers want to know what these exclusions are. When you talk to your agent, be sure to specifically ask him or her about what is NOT covered under your policy. Flood and earthquake are some examples. The policy also has limitations that is a set maximum amount set aside for certain types of losses. A homeowner policy has set limits and specified causes of loss for damage from backup of sewer and drains, damage to jewelry, guns, or furs. A business policy has set limits for damage to signs, limits on business interruption, or theft of cash. What about coverage for employee dishonesty?
An agent's experience can add value to the insurance relationship. Once coverage gaps are uncovered, it can be determined what additional coverages are available to fill in the gaps. How do I get a flood policy? Can we add earthquake to my policy? Next ask your agent, "What can I do to reduce my risk?" A good agent might recommend an alarm system for your home. What about additional outside motion sensor lighting? A business might benefit from an adequate supply of floor mats strategically placed to reduce slip and falls. What about a formal safety program? What about the use and regular inspections of fire extinguishers?
Claims help available from an agency can vary. Some agents (or agencies) take claims information directly from clients, while others refer the client to a toll free number. Some agents assist clients with claims that are not at fault by contacting the at fault carrier, while others will not. In the event of a claim involving loss to property, some agents will take photos, while others don’t. Ask your agent how they handle these matters. Your agent is a knowledgeable, experienced professional. Take advantage of that knowledge by asking for advice!
Your visit with your doctor is a meeting of the minds between a trained professional and a mindful client with specific questions. Shouldn't your next interaction with your insurance agent be the same thing?