Gray bungalow house with white trim under a blue cloudy sky.

Do I Really Need Insurance?

Ron Tatro, Vice President at Elder Law of Michigan

Recently, I was watching the evening news and viewing all the devastation across the country. Wildfires, flooding, blizzards, and tornadoes have resulted in the deaths of people and the loss of billions of dollars in damage to homeowners and commercial property. These tragic occurrences got me thinking about the role insurance plays in seniors’ lives.

For many seniors, the family home is their greatest asset. If you still live in your home, you need homeowner’s insurance. Generally, this insurance will cover potential claims for exposures such as fire, property damage, loss of contents, and people injured on your property. However, there may be exceptions, such as flooding or sewer backup, that might require a separate policy. Animals are another category that might require special coverage.

Over the course of their lives, many seniors have collected items of value. Those items might be antiques, artwork, jewelry, tools, musical instruments, and vehicles. These types of items may or may not be covered under the contents section of your homeowner’s policy. Often a special policy (called a rider) is required to cover those items.

Do I still need a homeowner’s policy if I live in a condo or rent an apartment?

Yes, however, it may not be called a homeowner’s policy. It may be called a residential or renter’s policy. You will still need to protect your contents.

How do I know what the policy covers and if I am getting the best coverage for the cost?

Finding the right coverage at the best price is a complex process. Working with an insurance broker, different than an insurance agent, will help guide you through that process. They will review policies from different companies to find the best fit for your needs. Be sure to review your policy every two to three years to ensure that you are receiving the coverage you need.

I don’t understand my policy and what all the terms mean.

Insurance policies are legal contracts between you and the company issuing the policy. Policies are filled with legal and insurance terms, such as exceptions, replacement costs, deductibles, and scope of coverage. An insurance broker can assist you in understanding your policy and how it impacts you.

Are there any other types of insurance policies I should be thinking about?

Yes. Many seniors continue to drive or own a car. You must have car insurance. State laws set policy limits on auto insurance. Factors such as your driving history, age and type of your vehicle, and even your zip code can impact your policy and cost.

There are other types of insurance to consider such as medical coverage and umbrella policies. Business and commercial activities might impact your situation as well.

Remember – keep your insurance in effect. It is the best gift you can give yourself and a loved one – peace of mind.

Ron Tatro is the Vice President at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since January 2007. As Vice President at Elder Law of Michigan, Ron provides support services and executive direction to all aspects of Elder Law of Michigan’s programs.