new years 2020

Insurance Checklist for the New Year

Many of us look to a new year as a way to improve our habits—shed a few pounds, get more sleep, reduce stress, get our finances in order. But how often do you fine-tune your insurance policies? Here are some suggestions for achieving more peace of mind in 2020.

Start Early

Are you expecting big changes in the coming year? Getting married? Moving to a new home? Adding a new driver to your auto policy? Make a list of anything that might affect your insurance rates so you can discuss options with your insurance provider.

While you’re at it, take a glance back at the last year… sometimes in the blur of life we don’t stop to think about how a new dog, a job change, or some house renovations might impact our overall insurance needs. It’s the perfect time to schedule a review.

Create a Home Inventory

Now that you’ve made a list of the big events you’re planning, what about the unexpected—natural disasters, water damage, fire, theft? At least once a year, take photographs of every room in your house for inventory purposes. Keep a list (plus purchase records and warranties) for big ticket items (appliances, electronics). In fact, you may want to talk to your provider about extra coverage for such items, and for jewelry, artwork, and so forth, as your homeowners policy might not cover them.

Make sure you have a copy of your inventory off-site—stored electronically in the cloud or in a safe deposit box. It won’t do you much good if your inventory gets destroyed too. It’s devastating to lose your home, but having thorough records should make the insurance claim process smoother.

Take Note of New Laws/Policies That Might Affect You

Last month, Massachusetts’ Governor Baker signed a new Distracted Driving Law that bans the use of cell phones and other devices while behind the wheel unless the device is in hands-free mode. The previous law only banned texting while driving, whereas this new law bans all activity—talking, texting, internet use—unless done hands-free. This new law makes Massachusetts the 6th and final New England state to ban the use of handheld devices while driving.

Enforcement of the new law will begin in March 2020, and offenses will result in fines (which increase in value with the number of offenses). Driver training and auto insurance surcharges may be levied against repeat offenders.

Talk to the Experts

Once the holiday festivities have died down and the last of the decorations put away, call Banas & Fickert Insurance Agency at 413-527-2700 for a comprehensive review of your personal insurance policies. A regular review is also highly recommended for our Commercial Insurance clients.

Until then, Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year to you all!