It’s a new year, a clean slate, and a fresh beginning: Although we’re nearly two months into 2018, it’s not too late to define your goals for the year and make a plan to accomplish them. While health-related goals like losing weight and eating better seem to top the list of Americans’ most popular New Year’s resolutions, financial fitness is a top goal for many, too. A YouGov survey of 1.2. million Americans revealed 37% of respondents said they want to “spend less money” in 2018, while making better financial decisions was the third-most popular response in survey data compiled by analysts at Statistic Brain.
So, what does it mean to be financially fit, and what’s the best regimen to attain “fit” status? When it comes to your insurance policies, it’s knowing how much you spend on insurance and exactly what each policy covers. A regular, proactive review of each of your policies can help ensure you are adequately covered yet aren’t overpaying. Start by listing every active policy you have. Then, for each policy type, consider the following questions:
- Is your coverage still appropriate for your situation?
- Look at your liability coverage — the part of the policy that pays for injuries or damages to others if you cause an accident. Are you adequately covered? If your liability insurance is too low, you could be sued for damages above your liability limit.
- Are you satisfied with your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage? Raising or lowering deductible amounts can affect your premium.
- Are you thinking of getting a new vehicle this year? This would likely change your premium, so be sure to research how much it could lower or raise your rate.
Homeowners or renters insurance
- Have you added anything significant to your home inventory in the last year you should note on your homeowners or renters policy? You should list high-ticket items like artwork, antiques, collectibles, and jewelry on your policy to ensure such items are covered if your home is subject to theft or disaster.
- Did you modify your home in any way that may affect coverage? For example: If you recently finished your basement, you should ensure you have adequate flood insurance.
- Has your health dramatically changed for better or worse in the last year? If you made significant and lasting changes to improve your health — like stopped smoking or lost weight that was causing health problems — you may qualify for a better, less expensive policy.
- Did your profession change in such a way that your health risk factors are higher or lower? Those in jobs with high injury rates or in which workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals typically pay higher health insurance premiums. Make sure your health insurance reflects your profession.
- Did you get married in the last year? Getting married usually causes a health insurance premium drop because members of married couples generally live longer and are perceived as more healthy than single persons.
- If you have life insurance, could you make any significant lifestyle changes that could lower your premium? These may include quitting smoking, losing unhealthy weight, improving your driving record, or beginning work in a safer occupation.
- Are the beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policy still accurate?
- If you don’t have life insurance, does it make sense for you to get a policy now? Better policy options and rates tend to be available to younger people.
As you look at each policy, write down questions you have or areas that may be subject to change based on your life circumstances. Work with a trusted insurance provider to get answers to your questions and learn about opportunities for greater savings or added coverage. Insurance laws can change from year to year, and a knowledgeable expert can help ensure you have enough coverage without wasting funds on anything unnecessary.
Just as many systems contributing to your physical health — circulatory, respiratory, muscular, skeletal — work together to define your overall fitness, many different but equally important parts define your financial fitness. Make your financial fitness a priority in 2018 by ensuring all parts of your financial picture — income, expenses, assets, debts, credit, and all insurance policies — work together efficiently!