Insurance is a product for the what-ifs in life. A good insurance policy can reduce the financial impact of an adverse event, mitigate financial losses, provide stability and offer some peace of mind during difficult times. Some insurance coverage is deemed so important, it’s mandated by law. But there is also lesser-known insurance coverage worth exploring. Consider these optional coverages to trade uncertainty for financial protection.

Homeowner riders. If you have a mortgage, homeowner insurance is required. A basic homeowner policy provides standard reimbursement after a deductible for approved claims due to theft or damage to your property, dwelling, personal possessions and liability. Such coverage, however, may not be sufficient. If you have valuable art or jewelry in your home, a rider can ensure appropriate reimbursement if these items are stolen or damaged. Consider a rider to offset the liability of owning a swimming pool or trampoline, for example. Other common riders cover water damage, identity restoration and business assets (if you conduct business in your home).

Renters insurance. If your personal property is stolen or damaged at a rented house or apartment, you may be out of luck unless you carry your own renters insurance. Look for a policy that includes liability coverage, which provides financial protection in case someone gets hurt at your rented residence.

Travel insurance. You may want to explore travel insurance before an international trip. A policy that covers unexpected cancellations is reassuring when planning an expensive vacation with non-refundable reservations. A policy that provides international medical coverage can be a real lifesaver since most US health insurance plans do not reimburse for care provided outside the country. The most comprehensive travel policies include reimbursement for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

Appliance insurance. Many utility companies offer affordable insurance plans to cover needed appliance maintenance and repairs. Coverage is usually available for major appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, furnace, water heater, washer, dryer and air conditioner.

Pet insurance. Veterinary care can be expensive. A pet insurance policy can help pet owners manage the cost of owning a pet. Most policies do not cover wellness care but do cover all or part of the expense for emergency procedures and major medical interventions.

Life insurance riders. Basic life insurance pays out for death from natural causes and most accidents. There are exceptions, however. Insurance companies generally exclude coverage for risky activities. If you participate in extreme sports or own a private plane, you may want to purchase a life insurance rider.

Review your insurance coverages annually or when you experience a life-changing event. Be sure to comparison shop as insurance policies can vary widely in coverage and cost. A trusted financial advisor can be a great resource to help you determine if you carry sufficient levels of insurance or if additional coverage is warranted.

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Michael W. K. Yee, CFP®, CFS®, CLTC, CRPC ®, is a Private Wealth Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner, with Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in Honolulu, HI. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 40 years. Investment products are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA or any federal agency, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.
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