For Immediate Release: January 12, 2017

Causey Provides Insurance Checklist for the New Year

Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey asks North Carolinians to review policies and coverage

RALEIGH -- The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate your insurance policies. Changing circumstances may lead to different insurance needs. Did you have a baby? Get married? Purchase a new home or car? If so, you'll want to check whether you have the right fit in policy protection.

"It is a new year and there are certainly things that will be changing in your life as you look forward to the rest of 2017,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. “I recommend you take this opportunity to make sure you are adequately covered by your insurance policies."

Take some time to talk with your agent and review your policies and see if they meet your current needs. Your agent or company can help determine whether your current policies provide adequate coverage or if you might need more or less. Even if you haven't experienced a life changing event, you could be eligible for discounts or new insurance products may better serve your needs.

We know that insurance can be confusing. One of our most important jobs is to help educate North Carolinians about insurance-related issues so you can make informed decisions for you and your family. If you have questions about insurance, contact the North Carolina Department of Insurance with your questions – 855-408-1212 or visit

Life Insurance

Changes—such as a birth, divorce, remarriage or even a new mortgage or new job—are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy, at the very least, that you should review your policy.

Read your policy carefully and answer these questions:

In the case of the birth of a child or a new marriage, you might want to consider increasing your death benefit. Check with your agent to see if your insurance company requires a physical exam before increasing your coverage levels.

Alternatively, events like paying off your mortgage, retirement or children finishing college might mean that you can lower your life insurance coverage and premiums. Your life insurance company might be able to offer "conversion privileges" from your current term life insurance policy to a new whole life insurance policy. You might also be able to expand your death benefits so they can be used while you are still living. Ask your insurance agent or company about these options.

Homeowners/Rental Insurance

This is a great time to update your home inventory and make sure your homeowners or rental policy is up-to-date. Take some photos or video of your prized possessions. Remember to note any antique items and their value so you can talk with your insurance agent or insurance company to ensure that they are properly covered. If you need to create a home inventory, the NAIC's free smartphone app, myHOME, takes some of the headache out of the process. Download the app from iTunes or Google Play. You can also download a paper version here.

Remember to add any new gifts to your home inventory, too. Include as many details as you can and take a photo of each item. Most basic home insurance policies have standard limits for big-ticket items like electronics, art, jewelry or sporting equipment. You may need special coverage, so call your agent to discuss changes for your policy. Also consider your environment. Your home could be located in an area prone to flooding or earthquakes. These disasters can be costly, and may not be covered under a standard policy. Speak to your agent about possibly adding coverage for these perils.

Auto Insurance

Have you had any changes to your driving habits? If so, tell your agent to ensure your auto policy will cover you in case of an accident. Also take some time to check your auto insurance policy by following the guidelines below:

Health Insurance

You may have recently enrolled or changed your health insurance whether through your employer, Medicare or your state exchange. Make sure you have new insurance cards. Before you visit a doctor, verify that your paperwork is in order.

Protect Yourself

Insurance fraud can happen to anyone, anywhere. Protect yourself in 2017 and beyond by following the tips below:

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