Purchasing Supplemental Insurance? 3 Tips for Making Better Decisions

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

You probably know that insurance policies can protect your assets. When you buy insurance, you are purchasing peace of mind, as well as a policy designed to help you pay for expensive catastrophes, whether it’s a health problem or your home is destroyed.

The right insurance policies can be a big help in ensuring that you are properly covered, and that one disaster doesn’t completely wipe out your finances. However, many policies have holes in coverage. Your health insurance might not cover dental costs, and your car insurance might not cover the costs associated with long-term disability.

Depending on your situation, supplemental insurance might be necessary to cover the gaps. Carrie McLean, from eHealthInsurance, offers 3 tips for making better decisions about your supplemental health insurance coverage as you shop around:

1. Work With a Licensed Agent

“Many licensed health insurance agents also sell supplemental plans. It doesn’t cost any extra to work with an agent, and it can help you get a better view of your coverage options,” says McLean. She also suggests that you check with online agents that can provide a variety of quotes for dental, vision, accident, and critical illness plans. “It’s easy to get quotes and purchase online,” she points out.

2. Don’t Use Supplemental Coverage as an Alternative to Traditional Major Medical Coverage

Supplemental insurance can be very reasonably priced. However, it’s important to note that they are inexpensive because they are limited. “Supplemental plans are just that,” says McLean. “They are intended to supplement your regular insurance plan. They will not provide you with the comprehensive coverage and access that traditional plans do.”

Instead, check with your regular plan, see what is missing, and use supplemental insurance to cover the gaps if you need it. I’m thinking of getting a dental plan with an orthodontics rider, since I know my son will need braces at some point. However, we can afford to pay our vision expenses out of pocket, so getting vision supplemental insurance isn’t really necessary. Think about your needs, and make sure you come up with a comprehensive insurance strategy that works for your situation.

3. Know What You’re Buying — And What You’re Not

McLean points out that you need to read the fine print, and get clarification when you don’t fully understand something. “It’s easy to qualify for dental and vision coverage because the benefits the provide are specific and limited,” says McLean. “Don’t expect everything to be covered 100 percent.”

She also suggests that you carefully examine the policy, since “not just any illness or injury will result in a big payout.” There are always conditions to be met before such policies start paying out. It’s important to know the exceptions to supplemental coverage as well. Before you buy, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into.

Bottom Line

Supplemental insurance coverage can be a great help to your finances. It helps you get more complete coverage, and it can result in better protection for your finances. But you need to be careful. Don’t get too much coverage, and don’t buy coverage that isn’t likely to do you any good.

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