This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Certified Financial Planner™ Scott O’Brien’s brand new e-book Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows. This e-book brings you in depth information from 7 experts across industries to help women manage the financial and personal elements of life’s major transitions. Download your complimentary copy today.
By: Sara Fry
Insurance Agent at Benjamin Fry Insurance
For women in transition, insurance matters might be a topic they have never had to deal with before.
I was 19 years old when I was introduced to the insurance industry, and only because I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I started out as an administrative assistant and after listening to my boss for a month, I became curious about this unknown insurance world. Insurance is not some subject you can take in school; in fact, I had never even thought about what coverages I needed on my car. My parents split me off to my own policy when I turned 18 and suddenly I had insurance. Like most people, I didn’t have a clue what my policy covered, or if my price was reasonable. All I knew was my agent told me I had “full coverage.”
Many people have confessed to me that they do not want to shop their insurance or discuss insurance because they do not understand it. In fact, most people think that all insurance is equal. As an agent, I love what I do and I love helping people have a better understanding of how it works, so I encourage them to ask questions.
Over the years, I have compiled a list of FAQ and definitions to help my clients understand what they are purchasing. Additionally, I review their lifestyle, current situation and future plans.
Most people come in for auto insurance, and as we probe their current situation, we discover they are renting an apartment. The first thing they blurt out is, “I do not have anything worth insuring.” So we agree with their assessment, and then we start our questions: What if someone broke in and stole your worthless belongings? Or your next door neighbor has a fire or flood in their apartment and you have trickle down damage. Do you have money to replace your valuables? One thing we do know is they may start out having worthless belongings, but when they lose them they are valuables.
You may need renter’s insurance. Think about the cost to actually replace every single item in your home. Maybe your items today are not worth that much, but add up the cost of a new couch, TV, coffee table, end table, mattress, bed frame, dresser, dishes, pots, pans, silverware, clothes, shoes and computer. Those are just a handful of the large things, but people often forget the cost of the little things, too: a hair dryer, brush, towels, shower curtain, lamps, alarm clock, decoration, trash cans, and the list goes on and on. Even if you purchase these items at a discount store, they will add up to thousands to purchase them new.
Renter’s insurance is often less than $15 per month. Your landlord or apartment complex is not responsible for your belongings, so make sure you protect them. I highly suggest asking the company you have your auto insurance with to quote your renter’s policy. Most carriers will give a multi-policy discount if you have auto and renter’s insurance with them, making the overall rate even lower. When asking your agent about renter’s insurance, make sure the policy comes with replacement cost coverage.
Besides protecting your personal property, renter’s insurance provides coverage for liability and medical insurance. Why would you need those coverages? Let’s say you are watering your plants and leave out the water hose. Later, you decide to order a pizza and you have completely forgotten about the hose. The pizza delivery person walks up to the door, trips over your hose and injures his leg. He has to go to the hospital and get stitches. This is where your medical coverage will come in. Medical coverage can be added from $1,000 to $5,000, which will cover the pizza delivery person’s immediate medical expenses. Now let’s say that his leg is broken and he requires surgery and three years of physical therapy, so he decides to sue you. This is where your liability coverage will come in. Typically, renters’ policies will cover from $100,000 to $500,000 in liability coverage. Are you beginning to understand why you need renter’s insurance?
Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows brings you practical advice from 7 experts across specialities to help women manage the financial and personal elements of life’s major transitions. Get your complimentary copy today.
Sara focuses on property and casualty insurance, both personal and commercial, life insurance and individual health insurance. She has served 13 years in the insurance industry, working for captive and independent agencies. Sara has earned over 15 certifications and stays up-to-date on the latest insurance trends. She was even personally recognized by the president of Allstate, where she spent six years of her insurance career. Sara’s objective is to look at the big picture and anticipate the needs of her clients ensuring they receive the best possible coverage at the most competitive price. Sara strives for perfection and above all, customer satisfaction.
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