Wrap Up 2016 With an Insurance Review

Now that the holidays are winding down, you may be thinking about your goals and plans for 2017. If one of those plans is improving your financial condition, one way you can do this is to conduct a review of your current insurance coverage. Your goal is to have the right amount of coverage for your needs, at the best price.

First, look over your policies to remind yourself of your current coverage and deductibles, insurance premiums, and discounts. Then consider how your life has changed in the past year. Did you get married, divorced, or have a baby? Do any of your children now have driver’s licenses? All these changes should be reflected in your insurance portfolio. Here are a few additional specifics to consider:

Auto Insurance

Is it time to raise your deductible or drop comprehensive and collision coverage? Has your commute changed? Do you have additional drivers in your household who are not listed on your policy? Are you receiving all the discounts, such as safe driver or multi-car, that you’re eligible for?

Homeowners Insurance

If your home were destroyed, would your coverage be adequate to replace it at today’s construction costs? Do you have enough coverage for your personal possessions? You may need to increase your coverage limits if you’ve made improvements to your home, or bought or received as gifts expensive items such as computers, jewelry, or art.

If you’re thinking of raising your deductible as a way to save money on your premium, would you have the resources you need to pay that deductible if you have a claim?

You may be eligible for discounts on your homeowners insurance if your alarm system is monitored. You’ll need to provide a certificate from your monitoring company to receive the discount. If you’ve recently replaced your roof, ask your insurance agent how you can benefit from a wind mitigation report.

Flood Insurance

The entire state of Florida is at risk for flooding. Even if you don’t live in a so-called high-risk area, if you don’t have flood insurance, you might want to consider buying it.  We represent several private companies that write flood insurance policies at a competitive rate.

Umbrella Policy

An umbrella policy is additional liability insurance, beyond your home and auto insurance, which protects your assets from a lawsuit. If your assets have increased, you will want to make sure you have enough coverage, or if you don’t currently carry an umbrella policy, you might want to consider purchasing one.

Life Insurance

If you’re the breadwinner, what would happen to your family if you die? A life insurance policy is one way to provide for them after you’re gone. In addition, although life insurance is mainly intended to replace lost income, consider buying life insurance for a non-working spouse or domestic partner. It can quickly become expensive to replace the work he or she does to keep your household running.

Because insurance is an important part of your financial life, it’s good to review your policies from time to time to be sure your coverage remains in line with your assets and liabilities. Remember, if you have any questions about your policies, Lakewood Financial is here to help.

Stay Cyber Safe This Holiday Season

While you’re shopping for and exchanging gifts with loved ones, scammers and identity thieves are lurking in the background, waiting to take advantage of unwary consumers. At Lakewood Financial, we do our best to make sure your personal assets are covered by appropriate insurance. As a service, we’d like to remind you to reduce your risk of identity theft and credit card fraud by protecting your personal information with common sense precautions. To help you stay cyber safe this holiday season, here are a few tips, courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and StaySafeOnline.org’s “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign.

 Cautious Clicking

Be cautious about clicking links in emails, online advertising, posts, and tweets, especially when they originate with someone you don’t know. Cybercriminals often use bogus links to compromise your computer with malware. Make sure all your household’s computers, smart phones, or tablets are running the most current versions of software and apps. And if you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall.

Watch out for offers that sound too good to be true, or that encourage you to act immediately.  If you’re shopping a website that is new to you, check online reviews to make sure it’s legitimate and that previous customers have had positive experiences. Look for web addresses that start with “https,” and the “lock” icon on your browser’s status bar to indicate your personal information will be sent securely.

Be careful what you share on social networking sites. Too much information can give an identity thief the clues he needs to answer security questions that will give him access to your accounts. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or any account numbers on publicly accessible sites.

Password Power

Create strong passwords for your accounts by combining upper and lowercase letters with symbols. The FTC suggests thinking of a special phrase and using the first letter of each word as your password. You can also substitute numbers for some words or letters. For example: “I love to fish with my dad” could become 1L2fWmD. Use unique passwords for each account, and write them down someplace secure away from your computer.

Wi-Fi Wisdom

Connecting to the Internet while out and about is a convenience—just be sure you adjust your security settings to keep others from accessing your personal information. If you must send personal information over public wi-fi, make sure to use a secure wireless network, not just an encrypted website. If  the network isn’t secure, don’t visit bank accounts or your email—you could be opening the door to cybercriminals.

Use these tips to stay cyber safe this holiday season—and all year long. If you want to know more about protecting your personal information, please visit StaySafeOnline.org.

The staff of Lakewood Financial would like to wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season!