When you purchase an insurance policy, the insurance agent quotes you a rate that lasts for a predetermined amount of time. This rate and the specifics of your coverage will remain the same for this predetermined amount of time unless you specifically request a change. Once this time has passed, your policy will be up for renewal and your rate may be raised or lowered. At this time, you will also have the opportunity to alter your coverage or to cancel your policy altogether. To ensure that you make the best possible decisions about your coverage, it is important to review your policy carefully during your renewal period.
Before you can conduct a thorough review of any of your insurance policies, you must understand how the policy works. Many different types of insurance policies exist, including home insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance, business insurance and more. Most people have two or more different types of insurance policies that must be reviewed periodically. Regardless of the type of policy you are reviewing, you will typically encounter several different policy components, including:
As you review your insurance coverage in advance of making a renewal decision, be sure to keep each of the factors above at the top of your mind throughout the process.
Before you make the decision to renew your current policy without any changes, ask yourself the following questions.
Your original insurance policy was drafted based on the needs you communicated to your agent at the time the policy was purchased. For example, when you purchase a home insurance policy, your insurance agent asks you a variety of questions about your home in order to determine the type of coverage you need. Examples of questions you may have been asked at this time include:
Your insurance agent uses the answers to these questions to determine how much it will cost to rebuild your home if it is damaged, as well as your level of risk with regard to liability claims. Once the agent has these estimates, he or she can calculate the amount of coverage that is most appropriate for you, as well as the premium you will be required to pay.
This same principle can be applied to other types of insurance coverage as well. For example, if you have business insurance, you probably answered a variety of questions about your business so that your insurance agent could determine your coverage needs. Likewise, if you purchased car insurance, you answered questions about your vehicle, your history and your driving habits before the policy was drafted. If the answers to any of the questions you were asked when you purchased your policy have changed since you obtained it, your current coverage may not be appropriate. Explain the changes to your insurance agent and he or she will help you explore your options. Depending on the nature of the change, you may need more or less coverage than you had originally requested.
Keep in mind that, if you allow your policy to renew automatically, or if you renew the policy without asking for any changes, your coverage will typically remain the same even if your premium is increasing or decreasing.
If your policy period has been uneventful, you may not have had any reason to deal with your insurer’s customer service department or claims process. However, if you did file a claim or the insurer’s contact customer service department in the past, ask yourself whether you are satisfied with the results of the interaction. Was the claim handled efficiently and appropriately? Did you receive the service you needed in a timely fashion? If you have any issues with your past interactions with the insurer, it may be time to shop for other coverage. However, if you are happy with the service you have received from your current insurer, you may choose to continue the relationship.
Even if you have not had any interactions with your insurer’s customer service or claims process, you may still be able to evaluate the effectiveness of these departments. Consider researching the insurer online to learn about its reputation among other clients who have had issues with their policies or who have filed claims with the insurer. If you notice a trend of complaints or problems, consider looking for a new provider. However, if most clients seem to be happy with the service they have received, you can feel reassured that your provider is reliable.
As a consumer, you may be able to lower your insurance rate in a few different ways. The most common strategies used to lower insurance rates include:
Explore all of these options to find ways to lower your rate. However, make sure that you understand the implications of any decision you make. For example, if you raise your deductible and/or lower your coverage amount, you may be responsible for a larger portion of the associated expenses if a covered event occurs. Likewise, if you change the type of coverage you are purchasing in order to save money, certain events may no longer be covered under your revised policy.
In some cases, you may be able to find a better rate for the same coverage through another insurer. Before you decide to renew your policy with your current insurer, consider shopping around for quotes from other providers. As you solicit quotes, make sure that the providers you contact are providing you a quote for the same coverage you currently possess. Even small differences in coverage can dramatically affect the quotes you receive, especially if these differences relate to the policy’s deductible or maximum coverage amount.
In some cases, the insurer who agrees to provide coverage for the lowest rate is not the best choice. As you compare rates, it is also important to consider the quality of service you will receive from the insurer you choose. Avoid insurers who have a reputation for poor customer service, a difficult claims process or any other issue that will interfere with your ability to obtain benefits if you need them.
Once you have the answers to all of the questions above, you can make an informed decision with regard to your policy renewal. In many cases, however, you will have several different issues to consider before you can make your final choice. Before you ultimately decide whether or not to renew your policy, take a moment to consider:
Whether or not you decide to remain with your current insurer, coverage is an important consideration. Your review should have given you the information you need to determine whether you need or want to make any changes to your policy. Before you make these changes, be sure to consider all of the potential implications.
Based on what you have learned during your review, do you feel that the premium you will be charged after your renewal is fair? Were you able to find any other insurers who would provide the same coverage for a lower price?
When it comes to choosing the right insurer, the price is not the most important consideration. Although a lower price for equal coverage is desirable, the quality of the service you receive should take priority over price. Before you decide to renew your current policy or sign on with another provider, make sure that you will be receiving good quality customer service.
Reviewing your policy carefully before you decide to renew is important, both to ensure that the policy is still meeting your needs and that the renewal price is fair and affordable. However, if you are planning to review your policy before you renew, beginning the review early is essential. If you wait too long to begin reviewing the policy and soliciting other quotes, you may not have enough time to make an informed decision before your policy expires.
In general, most insurance policy premium quotes last for 30 days or less, so reviewing the policy more than a month before its expiration may not be possible. However, you should begin the review as soon as you can. Even if you have not yet received the renewal notice and invoice from your current insurer, consider soliciting premium quotes from other insurers one month before your policy is set to expire. As soon as you receive your renewal notice and invoice, begin your in-depth comparison. If you have any questions or concerns about the renewal, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible so that you can get the information you need before the policy’s expiration.
Renewing your current policy or securing a new policy on or before your expiration date is essential. If you don’t secure a new policy or renew by this date, you will experience a gap in coverage. Not having the insurance coverage you need can be incredibly damaging, even if your coverage gap lasts for only a few days. For example, if you fail to renew your home insurance policy or secure a replacement policy by your current policy’s expiration date, your home will be without coverage until you secure a new policy. If an event that occurs during this time causes damage to your home or exposes you to liability, you won’t have an insurance policy to cover the associated expenses. Instead, you will be forced to pay these expenses on your own. Depending on the nature of the incident, you may experience significant financial distress. For this reason, reviewing your policy in a timely manner and making sure that you have no coverage gap is highly recommended.
If you have one or more insurance policies through Marine Agency, you will receive notice from us when it is time to renew your policy. You will also receive your renewal binder bill, or renewal invoice, at this time. Review this document carefully to make sure that the specifics of the coverage and the required premium are satisfactory. If you are happy with the terms of the renewal, you can renew your policy online at https://marineagency.com/resources/renew/. Simply follow the prompts on the screen and your policy will be renewed. You can also renew your policy by contacting your Marine Agency insurance agent directly.
If you are not satisfied with the terms of your renewal, or if you would like to make changes, contact your Marine Agency insurance agent to discuss the issue. Your agent will be happy to discuss the policy with you and help you find coverage that meets your needs more effectively.
If you don’t have significant experience reviewing your insurance policies prior to removal, or if you have several complex insurance policies to review, you may feel overwhelmed. At Marine Agency, our insurance agents understand how to renew an insurance policy, and we are here to help you make the right choices. Contact us today if you would like professional assistance as you review your policies. We will help you understand your current coverage, identify any weaknesses and make the necessary changes to ensure that all of your risks are covered adequately.
For more information about insurance renewal, or to request your free quote, contact our team here at Marine Agency Insurance today.
422 US Hwy 22 W, Unit 7
Whitehouse Station NJ 08889
Toll-Free: 84-INSURE-NJ (844-678-7365)
9 AM - 5 PM , Monday - Thursday;
9 AM - 4 PM, Friday
PO Box 125
Whitehouse Station NJ 08889
Toll-Free: 800-35-MARINE (800-356-2746)