January 05, 2017

Ring in 2017 with an insurance checkup

Consumers should take advantage of Missouri’s competitive insurance markets


Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages Missourians to include financial goals in their new year’s resolutions. The department recommends that you set aside enough time to review your insurance policies, prepare for potential disasters and develop a plan to save for the future.

"The beginning of the new year is a great time to review your insurance coverage needs," said John M. Huff, Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. “Missouri has a competitive insurance market, and consumers should shop around to ensure they are getting the most from their premiums.”

Review your insurance policies and shop your coverage needs


Auto


Missouri has close to 180 companies offering auto insurance. Missourians should take advantage of the competitive nature of this market by shopping around to find the best deal. It is important to keep in mind that finding the best deal means more than finding the cheapest premium—it means finding the best coverage at the best price. The department created an easy-to-read guide to aid consumers in their search for auto insurance by outlining the minimum coverage required by state law and some basic information about the optional coverage available. The guide also provides tips to reduce insurance premiums, a worksheet to help compare coverage and rates, and a list of helpful questions to ask an insurance agent or company throughout the shopping process. Consumers can download the guide here or request a hard copy by calling the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390.

Homeowners

Policy limits on homes and belongings can quickly become outdated. The new year is a great time to reach out to your agent to find out how the changes made over the previous year affect your coverage needs. These changes may include additions to your home, such as a new deck, sunroom or a newly finished basement, or it may include new purchases, such as jewelry, firearms or electronics.  It only takes a few minutes to ensure that your home and belongings are properly insured, and those few minutes could save you a great deal of financial heartache in the event of a loss. 

Whether aging parents are moving in with their grown children or young adults are moving back in with their parents, Missouri households come in all shapes and sizes. The department encourages consumers to understand how changes to family structures and living arrangements impact their insurance needs.

Traditional homeowners' insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage, and many consumers overestimate the help FEMA will provide should a major earthquake damage their home. Under FEMA's Individual Assistance Program, the maximum grant award is $32,900, which far less than what most homes are worth. To help Missourians find earthquake coverage that meets their needs, the department created an online list of insurance companies that offer earthquake insurance.

Missourians shopping for auto and homeowners’ insurance can view mandatory endorsements and free sample homeowners’ and auto insurance policies from some of Missouri's largest insurance companies on the department's website prior to purchasing a policy.

Create a Home Inventory

The department also encourages all Missourians to complete a home inventory, which is an itemized checklist of all their possessions. A home inventory can make the process of filing a claim much more efficient in the event of fire, storm damage or theft. An easy-to-use home inventory checklist is available for free on the department's website.

Download the Mo2Go Wallet


The department understands how challenging it can be to keep track of all of your insurance information, particularly in the event of a crisis. To help you organize your insurance information, the department created the Mo2Go Wallet. This easy-to-use app stores your insurance documents and information on your smartphone so that you have it on hand when it comes time to file a claim. The Mo2Go Wallet can be found in the Apple App and Google Play stores at no cost. Simply search for "Mo2Go" in the search section of the app stores or follow the link to either version of the app at insurance.mo.gov/Mo2Go.

Plan for retirement
Thousands of baby boomers enter retirement age each day, and many of them have no retirement savings. The department wants to ensure Missourians are aware of the various insurance products available to provide additional income during retirement. The department created this video to provide consumers with more information regarding these annuities and the integral role they can play in obtaining a financially secure future.

Locate lost life insurance policies

According to Consumer Reports, an estimated $1 billion in life insurance benefits are unclaimed. In order to connect Missourians with the benefits they are entitled to, the department wants to issue a reminder that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Policy Locator is available to provides assistance finding life insurance policies and annuities nationwide. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives. All consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality.

Consumers with questions about any of these topics can call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

###