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InsuranceAfter an Accident Insurance ClaimsMake the insurance claims process easier by following these steps.Am I Covered? Car Insurance QuestionsAsk your insurance agent these questions. It helps to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. There are a lot, but you're paying a lot.Appealing an Insurance SettlementIf you have a difference of opinion on your insurance settlement, you can begin an appeal process, starting with your agent, moving to the claims adjuster at your insurance company, or your state's watchdog agency for insurance consumers. What's Your Insurance Score?Like a credit score used by banks, insurance scores rate your risk (how financially stable you are). Research has shown that people who are in better shape credit-wise tend to file less insurance claims. Working With a Claims AdjusterOnce you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster employed by the company. If You Have No InsuranceIf you have no insurance (or less insurance coverage than you thought), your recovery will be based on your own resources and help from friends, relatives and your community. Estimating Your Home's ValueDo you have enough insurance on your home to rebuild it if it is destroyed? Do you even know how to calculate the amount of insurance you need? Key Insurance Terms Determining ValueKnowing these terms helps to understand the process insurance agencies and relief organizations use to determine the value of your loss. Your tax accountant can also help you when claiming your losses. Top Homeowners Insurance MythsHomeowner's insurance can be a bit complicated. William S. Coffman, Jr., WHN's Guest Columnist, provides some common myths about insurance and insights into the realities of insurance and the claims process.Property Damage Questions for Your AgentThese are some questions to ask your insurance agent. These may confirm what you already know or may help you understand the extent and specifics of your coverage.Insurance Riders Do I Need One?You pay your homeowners premiums on time and feel reasonably comfortable that you are well covered should disaster ever strike, right? Wrong. Even if you think you have adequate coverage, you could be drastically underinsured.Life Insurance and Healthcare CostsIf you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may have already discovered that dealing with actual health issues is just part of the individual puzzle you must reassess and reassemble. Am I Covered? Home Insurance QuestionsThe more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. Am I Covered? Life Insurance QuestionsHere is a 'starter' list of things to consider and questions to ask your agent. You'll probably come up with questions or ideas that best fit your needs. Choosing a Life Insurance BeneficiaryIf you own assets, from bank accounts to life insurance, it's important that you choose a beneficiary. Filing an Insurance ClaimA few tips on how to file a claim after a natural disaster, fire or theft. Motorcycle InsuranceThe more you know and understand about motorcycle insurance, accident coverage, and your own policy, the better off you are. Pet InsurancePet insurance is similar to health insurance: you may be reimbursed if the unexpected occurs. Property Damage What to Expect from Your AgentHere is a list of actions an insurance agent may follow after a claim. If you receive money from your agent or arrangements are being made for you, be sure to ask your agent what is covered under your policy and how much you are covered for. Reviewing and Updating Your Homeowner's InsuranceWhen was the last time you reviewed your home insurance policy? According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, there are six events that should trigger a review.Flood InsuranceOne of the most important things that you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy - even if you don't live in a flood-prone area. Earthquake Insurance ResourcesUseful links to information about disaster-related insurance resources.

Am I Covered?: Life Insurance Questions

Here is a 'starter' list of things to consider and questions to ask your agent. You'll probably come up with questions or ideas that best fit your needs.

Calculate Your Insurance Needs

Insurance Amount

  • Amount of coverage per policy
  • Type of coverage:
    term life (no investment component and is only for short-term coverage)
    cash-value (permanent policies that also build up cash like a savings account)

WHN Tip: Employer Group Life Insurance
Your employer might also offer a group life insurance policy. Ask your employer about your benefits and coverage options.

WHN Tip: Credit Life Insurance
A credit life insurance policy is used to pay off debts after the policyholder's death. You might be offered this policy option when purchasing an expensive item but keep in mind that it's usually more expensive than a regular life insurance policy.

Amount available in savings and/or investments

Total current financial resources

After-Death Debts and Liabilities

Approximate funeral and burial costs

WHN Tip: Read our article Average Funeral Costs

Outstanding debts to be settled by my estate (credit cards, loans, mortgages, taxes, business debts)

Amount needed to provide for dependents

WHN Tip: Assessing Dependents' Needs
Calculate their income needs: food, clothing, home, property taxes and other costs you pay (in full or in part) along with an emergency fund amount and projected or actual cost of your child's college tuition.

Total debts and liabilities

Meet With Your Insurance Agent

Discuss the following questions with your agent. Be sure to note the date you talked as well as full contact information for the agent.

If you request policy changes or additions, follow up to ensure they are made and make sure you get a copy of the change or addendum.

If you don't understand something, ask. Have the agent put the explanation in writing, sign and date it.

  • Do I have enough life insurance policy to cover my costs?
  • If not, do you offer a separate burial policy?
  • Will my estate be responsible for my business debts?
  • Which type of life insurance would be best for me:
    term life (no investment component and is only for short-term coverage)
    or cash-value (permanent policies that also build up cash like a savings account)?
  • What are the choices within each category?
  • What is included in the policy?
  • What are the "exclusions" and "limitations" of the policy?
  • How much are premiums?
  • What factors increase or decrease my policy cost or premiums?
  • Where do I fall within national averages: am I paying average, more, or less? What factors affect this rating?
  • Do I need to complete a medical exam in order to be eligible for the policy?
  • Can I name any beneficiary you choose? If he/she is a minor, do I need to appoint a trustee or name a guardian?
  • How do I make a change in beneficiary?
  • How soon does policy go into effect?
  • How often should I review the policy?
  • Is the policy convertible and for how long?

WHN Tip: "Convertible" means you can exchange your renewable term policy for another type of policy without evidence of insurability.

  • When does the policy expire?
  • Is the policy renewable?
  • What are payment options for premiums (annual payments, bi-annual, monthly, etc.)?
  • What happens if I can't pay a premium for a month?
  • What happens if the policy lapses?
  • Can I cancel the policy at any time? Is there a penalty?
  • Under what circumstances can the insurance company cancel the policy?
  • Are the life insurance benefits or proceeds taxable?
  • How do I file a life insurance claim? How long does the company have to respond to the claim?
  • Should I buy an insurance policy for my spouse or children?
InsuranceAfter an Accident Insurance ClaimsMake the insurance claims process easier by following these steps.Am I Covered? Car Insurance QuestionsAsk your insurance agent these questions. It helps to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. There are a lot, but you're paying a lot.Appealing an Insurance SettlementIf you have a difference of opinion on your insurance settlement, you can begin an appeal process, starting with your agent, moving to the claims adjuster at your insurance company, or your state's watchdog agency for insurance consumers. What's Your Insurance Score?Like a credit score used by banks, insurance scores rate your risk (how financially stable you are). Research has shown that people who are in better shape credit-wise tend to file less insurance claims. Working With a Claims AdjusterOnce you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster employed by the company. If You Have No InsuranceIf you have no insurance (or less insurance coverage than you thought), your recovery will be based on your own resources and help from friends, relatives and your community. Estimating Your Home's ValueDo you have enough insurance on your home to rebuild it if it is destroyed? Do you even know how to calculate the amount of insurance you need? Key Insurance Terms Determining ValueKnowing these terms helps to understand the process insurance agencies and relief organizations use to determine the value of your loss. Your tax accountant can also help you when claiming your losses. Top Homeowners Insurance MythsHomeowner's insurance can be a bit complicated. William S. Coffman, Jr., WHN's Guest Columnist, provides some common myths about insurance and insights into the realities of insurance and the claims process.Property Damage Questions for Your AgentThese are some questions to ask your insurance agent. These may confirm what you already know or may help you understand the extent and specifics of your coverage.Insurance Riders Do I Need One?You pay your homeowners premiums on time and feel reasonably comfortable that you are well covered should disaster ever strike, right? Wrong. Even if you think you have adequate coverage, you could be drastically underinsured.Life Insurance and Healthcare CostsIf you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may have already discovered that dealing with actual health issues is just part of the individual puzzle you must reassess and reassemble. Am I Covered? Home Insurance QuestionsThe more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. Am I Covered? Life Insurance QuestionsHere is a 'starter' list of things to consider and questions to ask your agent. You'll probably come up with questions or ideas that best fit your needs. Choosing a Life Insurance BeneficiaryIf you own assets, from bank accounts to life insurance, it's important that you choose a beneficiary. Filing an Insurance ClaimA few tips on how to file a claim after a natural disaster, fire or theft. Motorcycle InsuranceThe more you know and understand about motorcycle insurance, accident coverage, and your own policy, the better off you are. Pet InsurancePet insurance is similar to health insurance: you may be reimbursed if the unexpected occurs. Property Damage What to Expect from Your AgentHere is a list of actions an insurance agent may follow after a claim. If you receive money from your agent or arrangements are being made for you, be sure to ask your agent what is covered under your policy and how much you are covered for. Reviewing and Updating Your Homeowner's InsuranceWhen was the last time you reviewed your home insurance policy? According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, there are six events that should trigger a review.Flood InsuranceOne of the most important things that you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy - even if you don't live in a flood-prone area. Earthquake Insurance ResourcesUseful links to information about disaster-related insurance resources.