How to Review an Insurance Policy

It is important to review your insurance policy regularly. Too often, we keep insurance policies in a file drawer and forget that some items need to be updated from time to time. So when it comes time to file a claim, pay a bill, or renew, we are reviewing the files for policy details.

The easiest way to organize and review your insurance policies is to create a one-page summary for each policy. Most insurance policies contain a pre-contract page called the "statement page" or "policy summary." It will contain most of the information you want to review.

You can also create your own policy summary template on a notepad, Word document, or spreadsheet. Writing the relevant information in your own template can help you understand and remember it.

In addition, there may be items that the company does not include in its summary, so by conducting your own review, you can customize it.

Here's a simple guide to getting started and getting organized, as well as some tips on how to tackle several different types of insurance policies.

What to include in your review

All insurance policies, regardless of the type of coverage, are based on a set of basic elements. Here are the basics to keep on hand and include on your summary page:

Policy type

The first thing you want to know quickly is the type of policy you are considering. Is it health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, property and casualty insurance, or car insurance? If you are reviewing or summarizing a life insurance policy, specify what type of life insurance policy it is: term life, whole life, universal life, or variable life. The type of insurance can be the title of your file or a label used to further organize the entire batch when you are done.

Insurance company

What company offers the insurance? Keep track of a customer service number you can call or the contact information for your insurance agent.

Police number

You will always need your policy number when you call and ask questions about an insurance policy.

Date of issue

Knowing the date the insurance was issued is important for a few reasons. First, most policies only cover a certain amount of time. Later, when there is a charge, your coverage may expire or you may need to renew it. If you have a bank account linked to your payment, the renewal can happen automatically. In that case, you need to know when to expect this charge.

Knowing the issue date is especially important for life insurance, as term insurance has an expiration date and permanent insurance will have a surrender fee that can apply if you cancel the policy within the first five to 20 years.

Award required

Always keep track of the premium you pay and how often it is paid. In the case of a whole life insurance policy, the policy could be liquidated. In this case, if you were creating a policy summary, you would write: "No premium is required at this time, as premiums are paid out of policy dividends."

For other types of insurance, you can include something like "Premium of $ 225 per month paid by automatic deduction from checking account."


Who do the benefits apply to: you, your spouse, or a dependent child? If you are looking for home or rental insurance, ask yourself the same question: Does the policy cover your roommates? Does this cover your tenants? In the case of car insurance, does it cover other drivers?


A beneficiary is someone you designate to receive policy benefits if you are unable to do so. Many types of insurance, such as life insurance, are designed specifically for the beneficiaries and not for the policyholder. In life insurance, who is the beneficiary?

Is your choice up to date? If you are an ex-spouse, a premarital designated beneficiary, or someone with whom you may have disagreed, you will receive benefits as long as they are mentioned on the form. It is essential to keep this section up to date.

If you need to change beneficiary, contact the insurer. You will likely need to fill out a lengthy form and prove your identity.

Check the details

Once you've learned all the basics, you'll want to go over the details of the policy to get a good idea of how it works. This includes the claims, billing, and benefits or payments process.

You should also be aware of the restrictions that may apply. Looking at the details can help you identify areas where you may have double coverage, too much coverage, or areas where you don't have enough insurance.

For a more thorough insurance review, you can schedule an appointment with your agent. They can walk you through each feature of your policy and explain when it would apply, how you would qualify, and how much you would pay for it.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to Review an Insurance Policy


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