The excitement and spontaneity of summer is fading in our collective rearview mirror. And this year, coming out of (fingers crossed) the pandemic, I'm particularly sad to see it go.
Kids are heading back to school or off to college. Next year's vacations are being planned. After a rough PCS season, new locations slowly are becoming home. The anticipation of crisp fall air is accompanied by the comfortable cadence of life's routines -- and finally getting back to a semblance of good old normal.
Before you get too settled, take some time to conduct a quick "insurance fitness" survey: Make sure recent changes or moves, pandemic-related or otherwise, have been accounted for. Have you recently PCSed, bought or rented a home? Bought or leased a car? Added or dropped a driver? Retired? Changed jobs? Experienced changes with your benefits package? Inherited a valuable coin collection? These types of happenings likely factor into proper insurance and coverage needs.
Check the list below for any insurance gaps you may need to fill.
Life. A new mortgage, a completed education, transition to retirement or a new job could mean changes to the life insurance you have or should have. Spend a few minutes with a life insurance calculator like the one offered on the VA website to help you answer the most important life insurance question: Do you have enough?
Auto. Auto insurance is mandatory in most states, but what's required varies. Are you adequately covered? The more financially established you become, the more your need for liability coverage will increase. In other words, if you're sued for "everything you're worth," there's more at risk. The type of car you drive, how much you drive it, whether you have other drivers on your policy, and the age of those drivers also may impact your needs and what you pay. Review your coverage each year to make sure it still fits your needs. This summer, our youngest moved out and got her own policy. This left us with the beautiful decision of how to deploy the additional savings.
Homeowners/renters. Like auto insurance, adequate homeowners and renters insurance is all about the types and levels of coverage you have. Cheaper isn't always better, and the value of your home doesn't necessarily equate to what it would cost to rebuild. Suffer a loss without sufficient coverage in place, and those low premiums you've paid all those years won't seem like much of a bargain. If you don't own a home, renters insurance offers an affordable way to protect your belongings in the event of a robbery or natural disaster. And both types of coverage can offer critical liability protection if you're sued for something that happens where you live.
Valuable personal property. Whether for collections from an eventful summer or family heirlooms, this type of insurance covers valuables such as jewelry, guns, coins and the like that may not be covered by homeowners or renters coverage -- or that are subject to limits or deductibles that could leave you in a bind.
Umbrella. This coverage allows you to add an extra layer of liability protection. Sold in increments of $1 million, its primary purpose is to back up the liability coverage included in your homeowners/renters and auto policies.
Long-term care. Depending on your age (or the age of your parents), long-term care insurance might not be on your radar. It should be eventually. This insurance can cover custodial care in your home, an assisted-living facility or a nursing home if you need it. There's a plan available through the government (www.ltcfeds.com), or you can purchase it individually. What you can't do is expect Medicare, Tricare or Tricare for Life to cover the costs associated with this type of care.
As you return to your routine, take a comprehensive look at all your insurance coverage to ensure it remains a viable tool to help you avoid a financial disaster.
Get the Latest Financial Tips
Whether you're trying to balance your budget, build up your credit, select a good life insurance program or are gearing up for a home purchase, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to Military.com and get the latest military benefit updates and tips delivered straight to your inbox.