This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to getting ready for summer.
We start to plan for getting out our campers, boats, motorcycles, airing out summer cabins, and going on summer trips.
According to Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel, before you get too far, consider your insurance needs for your summer plans.
"The beautiful thing about summer in Wisconsin is that there is no limit to the things we can do here," said Nickel. "But just like you should be sure to be covered by sunscreen, you should also make sure all your summer plans are covered by your insurance."
There are a number of insurance options for consumers to consider:
- Watercraft, Motorcycle and RV insurance. Insurance is available for all of our larger summer investments. Insurance coverage for watercraft and trailer campers is optional but highly recommended. Motorized RVs and motorcycles (including mopeds) are required by Wisconsin law to have a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage in order to operate on Wisconsin roads.
- Travel Insurance. Travel insurance provides coverage for certain expenses incurred during vacation travel. These expenses can include trip cancellation or interruption, medical expenses, lost or stolen baggage, and other incidents that can occur while you are traveling. Check your homeowner's insurance policy for coverage of personal property while on vacation.
- Vacation Home. Many Wisconsin families have northern vacation homes. Remember, this home is just that, a second home. You should insure your vacation property the same way you would insure your primary home. Make sure the coverage in place reflects the current value of your property. Be sure to consider the contents of your vacation property as well, including any outbuildings, sheds and the contents within those structures.
While you are planning your insurance needs for your summer activities, it is also a good time to look at all your insurance coverage to see if it needs updating. Some things to consider include:
- Life Insurance. Have there been any changes in your life, such as a new job or home? Did you get married or have children? Does your life insurance coverage reflect those changes? Now would be a good time to evaluate your life insurance to see if you have adequate protection in place.
- Disability Income. If you temporarily lose your income due to illness or injury, would you be able to continue paying your bills? Disability income insurance can make sure a portion of your income continues while you are unable to work. If you have coverage, is it up to date?
- Liability Protection. Is the liability coverage in your homeowner's policy adequate? If not, consider additional umbrella liability protection that can be included with your homeowner's policy. Umbrella coverage provides additional protection above your homeowner's liability coverage.
- Flood Insurance. Flood insurance is usually excluded from a homeowner's insurance policy. Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program or from an insurer who issues flood insurance policies in partnership with the federal government as a service and convenience for their policyholders. You do not have to live in a flood plain to be able to purchase flood insurance.
Summertime is usually the time of year when home improvement projects occur.
Other warm weather activities can also be insurance considerations, such as trampolines or swimming pools in your back yard.
Nickel encourages consumers to review property insurance coverage at least once a year to make sure it accurately reflects your lifestyle and the value of your home and contents.
"We never know when something is going to happen in Wisconsin. It could be the weather, a flood, a car accident, or something else that can change our lives in an instant," said Nickel. "It helps to be prepared so that you and your family are financially protected."
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) offers a number of publications on insurance for consumers on its website at oci.wi.gov.
Those publications include Tips for Saving on Auto Insurance, Tips for Saving on Homeowner's Insurance, Tips for Buying Insurance on the Internet, and many others.
Created by the Legislature in 1871, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens.
Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.