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Empty Nesters: 4 Questions to Ask An Insurance Agent

The kids are gone. The house is quiet. Retirement may be within reach.

Your new chapter is just waiting to be written.

For empty nesters, making sure you’re properly insured and making smart financial decisions can help ensure that chapter unfolds as planned.

Ever wish you could just sit down and pick someone’s brain to make sure you’re on the right track? That’s just what our local ERIE agents are here to help you do. Making some small tweaks to your auto, home and life policies can help you set your course for those sweet, hard-earned retirement years.

Here are some of the right questions to be asking as you plan your future.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent When You Approach Retirement

1. It’s been a while since we looked at our home and auto policies. What are the must-haves we should know about?

With your thoughts likely turning to checking off your bucket list and prepping for a comfortable retirement, you don’t need any roadblocks that steer your plan off course. That should start with making sure you have home and auto insurance aimed at effectively handling any major losses. 

When it comes to your home, ERIE's guaranteed replacement cost coverage1 can pay for the full cost of rebuilding your house back to its previous size and specifications after a covered loss – even if increased costs of labor and materials make construction more expensive than expected. Additionally, ask your agent about ERIE Secure Home Bundles, which offer ways to expand your protection beyond our standard homeowners policy for underground service lines, appliances and more.

Cruising into retirement with a new ride? Ask about the ERIE Auto Security2endorsement. If you total a new car3 that’s less than two years old, ERIE will pay to replace it with the newest model year. (In short, your car will depreciate, but your insurance doesn’t.) And if you’re looking for an affordable way to boost your auto coverage, ask about ERIE Auto Plus for extra features for just $35 (or less) per year.

2. We’ll likely be on a fixed budget in retirement. What can we do to avoid unexpected rate hikes?

Your ERIE agent can talk you through a range of potential insurance discounts, from multi-policy discounts and first accident forgiveness to a diminishing deductible option.

As you cruise into your golden years on the road, ERIE offers a few discounts and perks:

  • 55+ Driving Discount: Yes, a discount for all of your good, hard-earned driving experience. Talk to your Agent about this discount.4
  • Reduced Usage Discount: A good option for snowbirds: If you plan to store your vehicle for 90 consecutive days or more, ERIE offers a reduced usage discount in most states (except Kentucky).4
  • Accident Prevention Course: Updating your driving skills, just like in your younger years, there’s a driving discount available for drivers 55+ who retake a driving skills course.

Beyond that, ERIE provides some additional options that help avoid untimely rate hikes. With the ERIE Rate Lock® feature6, you will pay the same auto premium year after year. Even if you have a claim, your rates won’t change until you make certain changes to your auto insurance policy, such as adding or removing a vehicle or a driver from your policy, changing your primary residence or where you usually park your car.

3. We’re thinking of downsizing. How might that affect our homeowners coverage and cost?

One might assume a smaller home translates to smaller insurance costs as well. But that’s not always the case, as a range of factors drive homeowners insurance rates. For instance, if your downsize lands you in a seaside bungalow, you could be facing a spike in what you pay for homeowners insurance because of the risks associated with coastal living.

The age of a home factors in, as well. On one hand, a newly built house needs fewer repairs and has the latest equipment, technology and safety features that can mean to lower risks -- and (potentially) lower payments. On the other hand, if all that newer stuff costs more to replace, it could prove more costly to insure than your current home. Even your proximity to a fire department can impact rates.

It really comes down to a case-by-case situation. That’s why it’s a great benefit to have your ERIE agent involved during the house-hunting stage.

4. Does life insurance still make sense at this stage of our lives?

There’s no set answer for that question, which is definitely worth exploring with your ERIE agent. How much – or little – life insurance you have as an empty nester depends on a range of factors including your current and anticipated financial situation, the status of your dependents or grown children and your future plans.

Keep in mind that retirement savings might not stretch as far as expected after factoring in taxes, inflation and less-than-stellar investment returns. With a whole life policy, you can borrow against your policy cash value as well as use it to supplement your income during your retirement years. And while you’re thinking about life insurance make sure your will is updated and your beneficiaries are clearly defined. (Read our guide about how to choose a life insurance beneficiary.)

Taking these steps not only gives you a clearer sense of your financial picture, but also valuable peace of mind.

Further Reading

Looking for more inspiration to start the conversation with your Agent? Check out these related articles from our blog:

Looking After You

You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. The people and things in your life are a big deal. That’s why we think the insurance that protects them should be a big deal, too. At ERIE, we’ve been working hard since 1925 to help you get just-right insurance that safeguards the life you’ve built.

See the ERIE difference for yourself: Get a free online auto quote or find a local agent in your neighborhood.

1 Guaranteed Replacement Cost applies to dwelling and requires home improvements over $5,000 to be reported within 90 days - not available with all policies and in all states. Coverage of costs to comply with laws or ordinances is subject to limits. Depreciation will be deducted until repair or replacement is made. Talk to an ERIE agent for more information.

Coverage is not available in all states. Eligible vehicles must carry both comprehensive and collision coverage and replacement must be made with a comparable model. See individual policies for specific coverage details.

3 Vehicle is considered new when less than two years old. The endorsement is sold on a per-vehicle basis, not per policy, and contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions.

4 All discounts are subject to eligibility criteria and applicable rates and rules at the time of purchase. Actual savings vary. Life multi-policy discount is not available in conjunction with auto policies already taking advantage of ERIE Rate Lock®. Erie Family Life insurance products are not available in New York.

5 Accident Prevention course is only available in IL, OH, KY, TN, VA, PA and NY.

6 Rates subject to change if you add or remove a vehicle, add or remove a driver, or change your address or the place you usually park your car. ERIE Rate Lock® does not guarantee continued insurance coverage. Not available in all states. Limited to three years in Virginia. Insured must meet applicable underwriting guidelines. Premium may change if you make a policy change. Refer to our disclaimer for more information.

The kids are gone. The house is quiet. Do you know what insurance moves you can make to secure your financial future? /blog/insurance-in-your-50s-60s-above Erie Insurance

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of May 2021 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.