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Insurance Tips for a Safe & Smart New Year, Part I

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Many Americans begin the new year with a resolution of some sort, such as getting in better shape, traveling more, or learning a new skill. While many of these resolutions are rarely kept, there is one that can help you find peace of mind: make January the time to review and update your insurance policies.

In this podcast episode, we team up with Gary Pozsik of Health, Wealth, and Happiness and discuss tips for evaluating your insurance policies to ensure a smart start to the new year.

Show highlights

1. Fine-tune your auto insurance policy.

Now is a good time to compare the car's value to what you pay for auto insurance and determine if your policy still fits your needs. For example, if you are driving an older car, reassess your collision and comprehensive coverage. Compare your premiums to the actual cash value of your car and determine whether these optional coverages are still cost effective.

If you have automatically renewed your policy for many years, your liability limits may be inadequate. NerdWallet's insurance estimator tool can help find the right amount of coverage for your needs.

2. Update your inventory of your personal possessions.

Most people don't take the time to inventory their personal possessions and don't have enough personal property insurance. January is a perfect time to review your personal property insurance and ensure it will cover your valuable holiday gifts.

Now is also the right time to update the inventory of your belongings. When disaster strikes and you need to make a homeowners insurance claim, you'll need to know what you own and what it's worth. Having a video inventory of your belongings could help you recover the true worth of your belongings.

Learn more about how to inventory your personal possessions for insurance.

3. Make sure your life insurance grows with you.

Many Americans forget to update their insurance coverage as their needs change. If you have a life insurance policy, you should review it annually.

As major life events occur, you may find your insurance needs change. For example, you may need to update your coverage as you have children, get married, or increase your personal wealth.

Your annual policy review should assess the benefit amount, term, loans and cash value.

4. Brush up on your health insurance knowledge.

Many people do not pay attention to changes in their health insurance plans, which can lead to costly surprises.

If your plan changed provider networks to save on costs, the doctors and hospitals you used in the past may no longer be available. Review your health plan carefully before your next visit to avoid surprise out-of-network expenses or unexpected copayment increases.

If you were not satisfied with your employer-sponsored insurance options, or if you are unhappy with changes to your current plan, you can purchase your own coverage through the Healthcare Marketplace until January 31. 

Have questions about your claim? We're here to help.

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