(MP) Has your insurance policy been collecting dust? Of course it has. Most people never take a second look at their policies until an accident or death occurs. But periodically, it’s important to review your policy; especially those policies that haven’t been looked at for decades.
It’s also important to know what kind of policy you are reviewing? Life Insurance Policy, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, or Property And Casualty Insurance.
Insurance Policy Summary
Most insurance policies contain a page in front of the insurance contract called a “policy summary”, it has most of the information you’ll want to review. If yours doesn’t have one – create a policy summary for each insurance policy. A policy summary could be copied from the insurance contract, or you could create your own on a pad of paper, in pages, a word document, or in an excel file. Here’s some information you need before calling your agent.
Information needed from summary
1. Policy Number
2. Date Issued
3. Premium Required Amount
4. Name of the Insured
Most people never take a second look at their policies until an accident or death occurs.
What to Review
Read your policy carefully and look for answers to these questions:
- How much you pay in premiums every year?
- Do premiums or benefits vary from year to year?
- How much do the benefits build up in the policy?
- What part of the premiums or benefits is not guaranteed?
- What is the effect of interest on money paid and received at different times on the policy?
- In what situations and through what rules can cash values be accessed?
- Can the policy be converted into another form of insurance or annuity?
Review with Your Agent
Now call your agent and begin your review. When reviewing your policy, make sure the benefit covers your current needs. Changes — such as a birth, divorce, remarriage or even a new mortgage or job — are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy.
In the case of the birth of a child or a new marriage, you might want to know: How to increase your death benefit? Check with your agent to see if your insurance company requires a physical exam before increasing your coverage levels.
Alternatively, your life changes might allow you to lower your life insurance coverage and premiums. The mortgage might be paid, you might have retired or your children might have completed college. At this stage of life, your life insurance company might be able to offer “conversion privileges” from your current term life policy to a new whole life insurance policy. You might also be able to expand your death benefits so they can be used while you are still living. Ask your insurance agent or company about these options.
Locating Companies that Service Your Insurance Policy
If perhaps the company that issued your life insurance policy has changed its name, merged with another company or sold your policy to another insurance company. You should have been notified of this change at the time it happened. However, if you did not receive an updated policy, you will need to locate the company that services and pays claims on your policy.
You will need this information to search for the new company information:
- Entire legal name of the insurance company. This should be listed on the policy or binder.
- Check to see if there is a mailing address and phone number on the policy or binder.
- Determine in what state the policy was purchased and date the policy was purchased.
Once you have this information, contact the state insurance department in which the insurance company was located at the time the policy was issued. Many times, the state insurance department (New York, Conn, Penn, etc.) will be able to track name changes and/or mergers that impacted the insurance company.
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