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Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Coordinator
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
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Life changes: are you insured? Review your insurance policies to make sure you're covered

SEATTLE - Because life is full of changes, the beginning of a new year is a great time to check your insurance and make sure your family is adequately covered.

Marriage, children, a special holiday or anniversary, a new home and retirement all have profound impacts on your life. Your insurance should reflect those changes to meet your needs.

"We recommend a complete review of your insurance coverage at least once a year," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Many families add high-value electronics or jewelry during the holidays. The first part of the New Year is a great time to make sure you have the coverage you need - both for your home and belongings."

In order to make sure you and your family aren't underinsured, NW Insurance Council recommends talking with your insurance agent or company representative at least once a year. Here are some things to consider:

Marriage - You may qualify for a discount on your Auto Insurance if you've recently married. If you and your spouse insure your vehicles through two different companies, consider insuring both under one policy. Consider updating your Homeowners Insurance to protect new valuables such as jewelry and wedding gifts.

After getting married, it's wise to examine your Life Insurance needs. Starting a family means being responsible for your loved ones. Life Insurance can protect your family if there is an unexpected death to either spouse. If you've recently divorced, you'll need separate Auto and Homeowners policies.

Children - If you've had a child, review your Life Insurance coverage. One-third of families with new babies - approximately 5 million households - haven't updated their policies. Life Insurance also can help you continue to save for your children’s education if you or your spouse dies..

Teen Drivers - If your teenaged children have started driving, it's generally less expensive to add them to your Auto Insurance Policy. If they will be driving their own vehicles, consider insuring them with your company so that you can get a multi-policy discount. Choose the vehicles carefully. The type of car a teen drives can significantly impact the price you pay for insurance.

Career - Switching jobs or experiencing a change in your salary can alter your insurance needs. If your new employer doesn't provide as much Life Insurance protection as you had in your old job, you can replace the lost coverage with an individual Life Insurance policy.

If you received a salary increase or decrease, make sure your current Life Insurance protection is adequate enough to meet your financial commitments. Sometimes a Life Insurance Policy with $500,000 of coverage can cost less than $450,000 of coverage because of a Milestone Discount offered by some companies.

Your Home - Too many home owners believe that the coverage limits of their Homeowners Insurance Policy are linked to the market value of their home, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Make sure you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings in the event of a disaster. Homeowners Insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home.

Also, if you've made significant improvements to your home such as expanding a kitchen or adding a new room, you may now be underinsured. If you've added more home, you'll need more protection. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners who say they've significantly remodeled their homes have not updated their Homeowners Insurance, according to III.

For more information about insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 and ask for a free copy of Your Guide to Insurance, or visit

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.