Life Changes & Insurance

To help you keep pace with the expected and unexpected events that life brings your way, the following checklist can help you identify potential gaps in your insurance coverage.

Getting Married

Getting married is one of life's most celebrated events. It can also be one of the most stressful as you plan for the big day, making it easy to overlook insurance issues you need to consider. As two people bring their lives together, there are a number of insurance needs to cover, from consolidating auto insurance to making sure your home or dwelling is properly covered. You also need to consider adding extra coverage for your wedding rings - this is called scheduling personal property. Also, talk with your agent about what coverage you may need for your wedding reception - the liability you assume at such an event may not be covered by your current policy. Your Westfield independent agent can guide you through the entire journey from engagement to retirement.

Building a New Home

You've worked hard and planned for years, and now the dream of building the perfect home is coming true. When you trust your insurance protection to a Westfield independent agent, you don't have to worry about the unexpected issues that may arise while building a home. Be sure to discuss your plans with your agent to ensure you have the right coverage for a wide variety of unexpected issues such as fire, theft of building supplies or personal property, weather and water damage, as well as liability for injury as you invite friends and family to tour the construction.


The right insurance coverage can make the exhausting experience of moving less stressful for you and your family. When you pack your life up into boxes (or pay a stranger to do it for you) and watch your possessions roll down the highway, you need to make sure you are protected from the unexpected. Talking to your agent should be part of researching a moving company or planning to move yourself. Your agent can help ensure you have adequate coverage to protect your property from loss or damage during the move.

Insuring Your Home

A common mistake homeowners make is assuming that whatever damage, loss or theft that happens in their home is covered under their homeowner's insurance policy. In fact, there are a wide variety of issues, such as water damage, property damage and premises liability, that need to have very specific coverage. The good news is that you don't have to scour your policy to find gaps on your own. Contact your Westfield independent agent to review your homeowners policy. Your agent will work with you to ensure you don't have potential gaps in your coverage.

Renting a Car:

Should I get the collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental car company?
When renting a car, one decision you need to make is whether to get a collision damage waiver (CDW), similar to loss damage waiver (LDW). Every rental car company may have its own definition and terms of what is included in a CDW or LDW and how they work. In general, a CDW is offered by rental companies for a fee (usually a daily charge) and serves to waive your responsibility for any damage to the car while in your possession. Each rental car company has its own contract, which means your responsibilities for damage to the rental car can vary considerably, even with the same company in different states. Some states do not allow the rental company to pass along responsibility for damage to the car to you.

What does your auto insurance policy cover?

Your personal auto policy may provide coverage for damages to the rental car under the definition o f "non-owned auto," giving the rental car the same coverage as your car. This does not apply to all auto policies, so review your policy carefully. If you do rely on your policy for coverage, you will still have to cover your deductible. The CDW or LDW usually does not cover your liability if you are responsible for damages to another car involved in the accident, or injuries to other drivers and passengers. Your best course of action is to talk to your agent.

Buying a New Car

Before you buy: find out the impact on your insurance costs
Before talking with a car dealer, talk to your insurance agent first to see how your rates will change based on the car you have in mind. Some of the factors that can impact the cost of your insurance:

  • Make and model
  • Year of the car
  • Government safety rating
  • Specific safety features such as anti-lock brakes and air bags
  • Security features
  • Who the primary driver will be

After you buy: When you notify depends on a couple of factors:

  • If you are replacing a vehicle - you are automatically covered for liability, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsured motorist.
  • If the new car is an additional vehicle - the car will have the same coverage as the vehicle already on the policy, but you must notify your agent within 14 days.

Physical damage is treated differently:

  • If your policy already covers physical damage, the new car will have the same coverage and deductibles, but you must notify your agent within 4 days after you become the owner.
  • If you currently don't have physical damage coverage, you must notify your agent within 4 days after you become the owner. If an accident were to occur within those 4 days, a $500 deductible would apply to the coverages afforded.

The type of vehicle you purchase can affect these rules... this only applies to private passenger type autos and pickups or vans with a rated GVW of 13,500 lbs. or less. Some new pickups could be up to 16,000 lbs. GVW or more.

Every insurance company and policy is different, and the above comments are offered only as guidelines. In all cases, the person who can advise you the best is your insurance agent. Be sure to check in with them when you begin shopping for a new car.

Adding a Teen Driver

Contact your insurance agent as soon as your teen has their temporary permit.
Things to consider:

  • Whether to purchase your teen a car (some cars make your rates go up more than others).
  • If your teen's car is not worth much, you may not need full physical damage coverage - discuss this with your agent.
  • Talk with your agent about whether to classify your teen as an occasional or principal driver.
  • Many insurance carriers also offer good grades discounts for teens, so consider tying driving privileges to maintaining a minimum grade point average.
  • Your agent may be able to provide specifics on how to save costs on your policy.
  • When it comes to teen driver safety, your agent may be able to provide information. Many states have tightened restrictions on teen driving privileges regarding what times of the day/night teens may drive and how many teenage passengers they may have in the car.

Learn more in our Teen Drivers section

Driving a Company Car

Whether you're visiting customers, making a delivery, or taking a client out to lunch, you may be driving on behalf of your employer.

Driving on your employer's behalf can impact your car insurance:

  • If you are given a company car for regular use, there may be discounts available for your personal insurance policy on your own car.
  • If you are using your personal car for business travel, you need to be sure you have the right coverage in place to handle this.
  • Whether in your car or a company car, there may be gaps between your personal coverage and your employer's.
Contact your insurance agent to get specifics on what you should be thinking about while driving on behalf of your employer.

Driving with a Child Passenger

How long your child needs to use a car seat, when they should move up to a booster and how long they should use the booster are important questions as your children grow. If you research this issue, you'll find a variety of differing advice on the topic, and it can be difficult to know which advice to follow.

Some recent research into deaths and injuries regarding children in car seats and boosters suggests that following state laws and/or the manufacturer's recommendations may not be enough.

According to some sources, your child should ride in a safety seat with a 5-point harness until he/she weighs at least 40 pounds or until their shoulders no longer fit under the harness straps. However, others are now saying children up to 60 pounds need to ride in a car seat. For booster seats, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends booster seats for children until they are at least eight year of age or 4' 9" tall.

Make an informed decision for your child The most useful advice is to look at the laws, guidelines, recommendations and statistics for yourself, and make an educated decision about your child's safety. At minimum, you must follow the laws in your state. Then, look at some of the other research out there and decide if you want to take extra precaution.

*Here are some web sites that may be helpful to you:

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