Tags: Coronavirus | summer 2020 | insurance preview | life | auto | homeowners | insurance

How Pandemic Has Changed Life, Auto and Homeowners Insurance

How Pandemic Has Changed Life, Auto and Homeowners Insurance

By    |   Thursday, 02 July 2020 11:17 AM

With 2020 more than halfway through, it is a good opportunity to take stock of the risks we have faced so far, and to evaluate what we may be facing for the rest of the year.

Nobody wants to think that the coronavirus is going to spring back into the forefront of our national dialogue now that we are getting back to business and thinking about returning to school in the fall, but the experts say that while it is fine to be hopeful, we really need to be prepared.

In the case of life insurance, if you already have a policy, that policy will cover you in case the policyholder dies of coronavirus. Things get trickier if you are shopping for a new life insurance policy, though.

Insurers are now instituting many new steps that perspective policyholders have to take. One of the most prominent is in the case of travel restrictions. If someone is shopping for a new policy but has recently traveled to an international coronavirus hotspot, or is planning to do so in the near future, the company may put a waiting period on that new policy until after they have returned and gotten a clean bill of health.

Another difference is in the so-called paramedical exams people have to take before their policy is rated. In most states, travel restrictions and stay at home orders have been lifted, but new socially distant restrictions have been put on those exams. And if there is another wave and more stay at home orders emerge, those exams may halt again, putting a temporary pause on new policies. And if someone has tested positive or been exposed to coronavirus, most life insurers are going to institute a waiting period until after they recover until those policies kick in.

When it comes to auto insurance policies this summer, look for discounts and rebates that many of the companies are offering since people are traveling less during lockdowns and stay at home orders. Most companies kicked back at least 10% of the monthly premiums during lockdown, and some gave as much as 25% back to policyholders.

And, if you are traveling less and spending less time in your cars and logging fewer miles, now might be a good time to ask your insurer about their telematic devices. These are little devices that plug into the diagnostic port of your vehicle and that log things like miles driven, top speed, and aggressive braking. If you are on the road less, you may get a premium discount because you are less likely to slam on your brakes and gun it at a green light.

If a road trip is in your future, make sure you are covered for roadside assistance. Many insurance companies offer that as an inexpensive add on to your comprehensive policy. If you are uncomfortable making claims with your insurer for things like blown out tires, then make sure to shop it from an auto club or other provider. But be sure to consider it, because it is such a nice thing to have when you are stranded on a rural highway with a minivan full of kids and no spare tire.

And if a semi kicks up a rock and chips your windshield during that road trip, be sure to check your comprehensive insurance policy, because many insurers will do glass repairs for no deductible. But even if you have to come out of pocket, get that chip fixed before it makes a spiderweb across your windshield and ruins your vision.

Summer means many other things, too — from hurricane and wildfire seasons to fireworks, backyard barbecues, and pool parties. To an insurance expert, every one of those words sent chills down their spines.

When it comes to hurricanes and wildfires, make sure to check with your homeowner’s insurance agent. While those are considered covered risks in most cases, there may be exclusions or special deductibles on your policy that you should know about in advance rather than getting a nasty surprise after disaster strikes.

And keep in mind, floods are never covered by your homeowner’s policy. You must get a separate flood policy through the federal government. And really, everyone, regardless of where they live should have one. They are relatively inexpensive for the coverage they give, and floods can bring catastrophic damage.

Umbrella policies are a good idea, too, if you plan on having renovations made to your home. Sure, you should ensure that your contractors and their subcontractors all have their own liability policies, but if someone is trimming your tree and falls out of the bucket truck, you are going to want to be protected if they turn around and sue you.

We all want to get back to our normal lives, but there are still risks out there. As we move toward the second half of the year, do it intelligently. Government programs are being rolled out to help with the recover, so keep an eye on what you might qualify for. But most of all, be careful as you venture back to a world that we hope will be more normal moving forward.

Michael Giusti is a senior writer at InsuranceQuotes.com. He has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in business, insurance, finance, technology, automotive and industry-focused writing.

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With 2020 more than halfway through, it is a good opportunity to take stock of the risks we have faced so far, and to evaluate what we may be facing for the rest of the year.
summer 2020, insurance preview, life, auto, homeowners, insurance
Thursday, 02 July 2020 11:17 AM
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