Annual Review: Important Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent
The best insurance agents meet with their clients at least once a year to review coverage. If yours doesn’t, request an annual review. Circumstances can change and it’s your chance to make sure your plan still fits your needs. It’s also a great opportunity to ask some questions of your own. Take a look at these questions and decide if you want to add them to the discussion.
How can I lower my premium?
Insurance agents are small business owners like you. So they understand how important expenses are to the bottom line. This question prompts you to look at how you’re operating your business now. That discussion could identify options that reduce your premium.
For example, if you’re driving less for business because of COVID, you might qualify for a low mileage discount on your auto premium. Even if you don’t uncover any reductions, you’ll feel better knowing you investigated the possibility.
Why did you choose this plan for my business?
Insurance policies can be confusing when you don’t deal with them every day. That’s where your agent can help. In plain English, they can explain what coverages you have. Hearing the explanation again helps you reaffirm the need and determine whether it still fits.
For example, if you’re working mostly from home now, does your business insurance still cover you there? You may need to adjust the plan to cover a home-based business.
Can I afford to take on more risk?
You buy insurance to share the risk of a catastrophic event like a fire or a disability that keeps you from working. Often that sharing comes in the form of a deductible or a waiting period. A lower deductible means you take less risk and the insurance company takes more. As a result, you pay higher premiums.
Your agent can help you assess your risk tolerance. For example, would you be willing to increase your deductible in exchange for a lower premium? The discussion can lead to a better understanding of your risk-reward balance.
New coverages are always being released to meet the changing needs of small business owners. Sometimes it’s a new plan, sometimes it’s an option you can add to your existing plan. Your agent can help you determine if they’re right for you.
For example, some companies are offering combination life and long-term care plans. Rather than having to purchase two plans, they work with each other to satisfy both needs. Still other companies offer cyber insurance to protect against the risk of data breaches or malware.
Where is my business still vulnerable?
Often, insurance agents help you build a plan in parts, especially if you’re a new business. Together, you start with the most essential coverage and add as your needs (and business) grow. The annual review is a great time to uncover any gaps in coverage based on what stage your business is in.
For example, if you’ve taken on a business partner, do you have a buy-sell agreement that determines how the business will continue if one partner dies or becomes disabled and is no longer able to work? Will funds be available to buy out the other partner out if that happens? Your agent can show you how to fill this gap.
How do I file a claim?
Knowing how to file a claim can help you avoid any delays in receiving a benefit. It can also give you some idea of how soon you might expect it. That can help you better plan for an emergency.
Some companies now have mobile apps that make it easy to file a claim. You snap a photo of the damage and send it to them for consideration.
Annual insurance reviews can be a valuable tool to safeguard your business. Get the most from these sessions by asking the right questions. Start the discussion with these suggestions.