Insurance and Finance

360 Review: Ask the Right Questions

By Jennifer Chappell-Smith 12.1.17

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager Meredith Campbell lives in Dimmitt. It’s a town where small talk, marriage announcements, and social media alert her to changes in members’ lives that may mean changes in insurance coverage, too — whether it’s a new baby or a new barn.

But there are some things members don’t post on Facebook or discuss at the local diner. That’s why Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s 360 Review is crucial. “Ideally, we’d like to review on an annual basis,” says Campbell, who oversees Agents in Castro and Swisher counties. “There may not be any way for us to know about [a life change] unless [policyholders] tell us.”

Campbell recommends prepping for your 360 Review by asking yourself these questions, suggested by the Insurance Information Institute (III). 

Is your marital status changing?

Newlyweds should reevaluate auto, home, and life insurance coverage: You may want to add a spouse’s vehicle to auto policies and update your homeowners or rental coverage to protect combined households. Assess group benefits at work and consider whether you may need additional coverage for life and health insurance.

Divorced persons should consider the same insurance actions. Campbell notes that they sometimes forget to change beneficiaries, leaving a former spouse as their life-policy beneficiary — instead of a new spouse.

Is your family growing — or growing up?

If you’ve just had a baby or are expecting one, consider a child rider on a term life insurance policy, or begin a policy of their own. You’ll also want to add the death indemnity benefit for each child on auto insurance policies. Disability insurance is important to protect a growing family, too.

Telling your Agent about new family members also gets their names on the membership list at Texas Farm Bureau. “It helps us keep track of the family, so we can help adjust their insurance needs [over time],” Campbell says.

Is your teen turning sweet 16?

Make sure your Agent knows about your newly licensed driver. The type of car your child drives, as well as your child’s age and driving record, can affect insurance rates — so go for safety and sensibility. “A [teenage] boy driving a Camaro can affect your insurance in a big way,” Campbell says.

If you’re considering purchasing a car for your young driver, your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent can also help you assess vehicles that may give you the best insurance rates, by looking at a set of criteria related to VIN numbers and safety factors. This helps you make an informed decision on your rates. 

Have you changed jobs or do you plan to?

You’ll need to assess benefits. “What are you leaving behind? What are you going into?” Campbell asks, noting that while job-related life insurance benefits change, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance life policies can be your anchor. “We like to be the steady, true, main [life] insurance,” Campbell says.

The health plans Texas Farm Bureau Insurance offers through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas could also benefit spouses who may not qualify for coverage at a new workplace. Even auto coverage may be affected by a job change, especially if it means a longer commute or working from home.

Did you renovate your home?

Agents will ask about upgrades and new outbuildings to ensure they’re added to and covered by existing homeowners policies. “If it increases the value of their home and they want coverage, they need to tell us,” Campbell says.

Don’t forget to cover new outdoor living spaces, such as high-end outdoor kitchens and pergola-covered patios. “Porches count, even though [they’re] not counted in square footage heated and cooled,” Campbell notes. 

Remember that renovations of any kind may mean you require more coverage.

Have you invested in a vacation home?

“Whether your home is in the mountains or by the coast, you want to be sure it is adequately covered with flood insurance or wind policies,” Campbell advises. And if you’re renting it out, let your Agent know. You may need to consider a new policy with different liability.

Have you purchased luxury items or valuables?

Before your 360 Review, update your home inventory to reflect new computers, high-tech equipment, artwork, jewelry, and the like — these can be easily covered by an endorsement on your homeowners policy. Separate, floater policies for such items have advantages, such as more specific coverage and lower deductibles, Campbell says.

Are you part of a car pool?

For work or school, ride-sharing can increase your liability, according to the III. It also can mean you use your car less, which may improve your premium rates. “Insurance follows the vehicle,” Campbell says. So, if it’s sitting in your driveway four days a week, tell your Agent, she says. 

Did you retire?

A change in work status means you may have lost group benefits. Look at your life, health, medical supplement, or disability insurance needs and ask whether you need new coverage. Other changes, such as spending more time at your summer home, for example, or driving less without a work commute, may lead to home or auto policy updates.

During a 360 Review, these are the kinds of questions to ask. “And your answers are like our road map,” Campbell says. A map to the best and most comprehensive coverage to protect you in the years to come.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. Life insurance products are offered through Southern Farm Bureau Insurance Company.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance