Policy Review

It is important to review an insurance policy on a periodic basis; especially a policy that you may not have looked at for quite some time.

The easiest way to organize and review your insurance policies is to create a one page policy summary for each insurance policy. A policy summary makes it easy to quickly review an insurance policy. If you create your own policy summary it will help you understand your insurance policy.

Most insurance policies contain a page in front of the insurance contract that is called a "policy summary", and will contain most of the information you will want to review. It is especially important to periodically review life insurance and long term care insurance policies, as people tend to file these types of policies away and not look at them for long periods of time.

An insurance policy summary would contain a section that has the basics of your policy, and a section with details on the benefits and restrictions. When conducting a review of your insurance policies you will want to pay the most attention to the benefits and restrictions.

Basics To Know About

Type Of Policy
Is it health insurance, life insurance, long term care insurance, disability insurance, property and casualty insurance, or auto insurance? If you are reviewing or summarizing a life insurance policy, specify what type of life insurance policy it is: term life, whole life, universal life or variable life.

Insurance Carrier
Who is the insurance company that provides the insurance? Keep track of a customer service number you can call, or the contact information for your insurance agent.

Policy Number
You will always need your policy number when you call and ask questions about an insurance policy.

Date Issued
It is important to know the date the insurance was issued especially when it comes to life insurance, as term insurance has an expiration date, and permanent insurance will have a surrender charge that may apply if you cancel the policy in the first five to twenty years.

Premium Required
Always keep track of the premium you pay and how frequently it is paid. In the case of a whole life insurance policy, the policy could be paid up. In that case if you were creating a policy summary you would write "No premiums required at this time as premiums are being paid by the dividends inside the policy." For other types of insurance, you might list something like “Premium of $225 per month paid by automatic deduction form checking account.”

Who do the benefits apply to; you, your spouse, a dependent child?

Once you understand the basic components, you can review the details of the insurance policy.

Details To Review About Your Insurance Policy

Summary Of Benefits – You Must Look At This In Detail When You Review An Insurance Policy

Much of the information you need can be found in your policy under a section called "Summary Of Benefits" or "Policy Data", but the best way to conduct an insurance policy review is by calling your agent, or if you don't an agent contact us and have us walk you through each feature of your policy, explaining when it would apply, how you would qualify, and how much you pay for it.

Below is a brief overview of what you would want to review for each type of insurance you may have:

  • Life Insurance Policy Review And Summary
    For life insurance keep track of the total death benefit, and any additional riders such as a waiver of premium in the event of disability.

    In addition, if your policy has a cash value, track the performance of investments inside it, and call the insurance company to request something called an "in-force illustration".

  • Long Term Care Insurance Policy Review And Summary
    For long term care insurance you should know the “per day” benefit, and how long the benefit would last. For example, your policy might pay $100 per day for up to 500 days in the event that you qualify for long term care benefits. You'll also want to know if your policy covers in-home care.

  • Health Insurance Policy Review And Summary
    For health insurance, make sure you know your out-of-pocket expected costs. For example, if the policy has a $3,000 max out of pocket cost, you'll want to have $3,000 set aside to use for that purpose. You'll also want to know details such as “policy pays 80% of covered services after I make a $50 co-pay.”

  • Disability Insurance Review
    For disability insurance you want to know the monthly benefit that is payable, how long it would pay you, and how the insurance company defines disability, so you know what circumstances would make you qualify for benefits.

If you're not sure how your policy works, ask US!

Restrictions – It Is Important To Review Any Restrictions That Apply To Your Insurance Policy. This category includes things such as waiting periods or deductibles that need to be met before coverage applies. For example, long term care and disability policies may require a 30, 90, or 360 day waiting period before benefits are payable.

Other Information
Write down any other relevant information that is important to review about the insurance policy. This section would include items such as loans against life insurance policies, riders that provide benefits for a spouse, or expiration or renewal dates.

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