by Shannon Casey
When you enter retirement, there are a number of fun things to think about: new hobbies, vacations and additional time with friends and family. On the other hand, you also need to look into each of your insurance policies.
Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, you’re getting older, so health insurance is becoming increasingly necessary. With tons of insurance information floating around the blogosphere, you’re not really sure what is fact and what is fiction. The good news is that insuring yourself in retirement doesn’t have to be a hassle. Both laws and discounts can work in your favor.
Please note that the acts mentioned below are United States specific. The other recommendations apply to retirees in every country.
Health insurance can get tricky once you enter retirement. Given today’s economic climate, it’s unlikely you can continue on your past employer’s health plan. However, thanks to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, you can keep that medical coverage for 18 months into retirement. Keep in mind that expenses will change once you’re no longer employed. While COBRA will keep you insured, your employer will no longer pay a portion of your premium. Plus, you might have to pay additional fees.
After the first year and a half of retirement, of course, COBRA is no longer of use to you. If you’re more than 65 years old, you can go on Medicare. If you have yet to hit that age, you need to find your own individual insurance policy.
Now that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, you can’t be denied for a pre-existing condition. Plus, you can shop for an affordable plan through a state-run exchange, and all preventive care is free for insured individuals. Don’t worry about having to change physicians, either. You’ll still have the freedom to choose your own doctor.
One of the perks that come with retirement is that you may be done paying off your mortgage. However, don’t blow off homeowners insurance just because you’re no longer required to carry it by a lender. You’ll still want coverage for your house in case of a fire or other covered peril. And you want protection in case the contents of the home are destroyed or damaged, not to mention a hand if someone is injured on your property.
In fact, protecting one of your biggest investments – your house – is particularly important now that you’re on a fixed income. But there is good news about your retirement and your home insurance. You might even be able to snag a less expensive premium as some providers offer special discounts for retirees and seniors. Discounts vary widely according to state and carrier, so call a home insurance agent to ask about savings opportunities.
Much like the price for home insurance, your auto insurance premium might also go down once you enter retirement. Discounts open up to you that may not have been previously available. Now that you’re no longer working a grueling 9-5 job, find the time to take a defensive driving course. Many providers are happy to provide rewards for responsible drivers. Another advantage of retirement is that you probably aren’t driving a commute each morning anymore. Your reduced weekly mileage can also potentially score you a discount. Years of good driving also can contribute to lower premiums.
Call your agent to find out more about how retirement will affect your insurance premiums. Ask about home-auto discounts, which could possibly save you hundreds of dollars each year and give you the simplicity of only dealing with one carrier for two services. Do a little homework, and getting yourself insured will be a snap.
This article was contributed by Shannon Casey, writer for HomeInsurance.com. With a background in comedy and playwriting, Shannon branched into blogging and marketing in 2011, writing for several national brands. She graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, in 2010 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts.