1. What is covered? What items are covered and what perils are covered should be the first question you ask. This will ensure that you are obtaining the right policy for your needs.

2. What is not covered? Are there any Special Provisions? Policyholders often make the mistake of assuming. Never assume, always know. You must know what exclusions there are to the policy. This will help eliminate time wasted on filing a claim that is clearly not covered under the policy.

3. How do you process claims? How will I be paid for my loss? In the event of a claim, you should know what steps you will need to take to file a claim and how your claim will be processed. Will you be given a check to replace the item or will a new item be sent to you? How long will the entire process take?

4. Will my premium ever increase? Some insurance companies will increase your premium based on claims you have submitted. Companies as a general rule, do increase their premium across the board every few years to keep up with inflation but this is not directly related to any losses you may have experienced.

5. Where am I covered? Insurance policies often have stipulations on where the coverage applies. Make sure you know where your items are covered.

6. How often is the premium paid? Premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly, bi annually or annually. Some policies even allow you to purchase several years of coverage and pay for it at one time. Know when you will be expected to pay.

7. How will I be notified when the policy is about to expire? You should be sent a renewal notice before the policy expires. Make sure you know how this notice will be received, via email or mail. When your renewal time approaches, you can be looking for the notice. It is always the responsibility of the policyholder to renew the policy, keep your contact information current so you can be reached during this time.

8. What information will you need if I file a claim? Most insurance companies will need proof of ownership for any items you claim. Make sure you keep whatever they need so that when/if you do have a claim the information is at your fingertips.

9. What information will you need from me to obtain the policy? Will they be asking you for any information that you need to look up prior to obtaining the policy? If so, make sure you have that handy so you don’t waste your time and can get the coverage quickly.

10. When will my coverage begin? Will there be a waiting period before it goes into effect? Know when your policy starts so that you know precisely when you are covered.

Of course, there may be other questions that come to mind when you are researching an insurance company but these are some you should know the answer to. In most cases you should be able to obtain the answers on the company’s website but a customer service representative should be able to help you as well.