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Cover your assets

INSURANCE probably isn't at the top of your reading list this summer - or at any other time of the year.

INSURANCE probably isn't at the top of your reading list this summer - or at any other time of the year.

Yet you must decide how much risk you can afford yourself, and buy insurance to protect yourself and your assets against losses that could devastate your finances.

According to a TD Insurance poll, almost onethird of Canadian couples - many of whom have children - have never discussed life insurance with each other.

"Considering how integral finances are to a family's well-being, it was surprising and concerning to find that some couples aren't talking about life insurance at all," said Dave Minor, vicepresident, TD Insurance.

And considering that women, especially mothers, are likely to be affected more financially by the death of a spouse than men, it's interesting that among those couples who did talk about life insurance, men were more likely to bring up the topic than women (57 vs. 43 per cent).

Clearly a couple who both work, with no dependents and few debts, probably need less life (and disability) insurance than a couple with one wage-earner and dependents, and/or significant debts.

Any major life change (new home, marriage, baby, relationship breakup, etc.) should prompt you to review your insurance coverage.

Also review your possessions (typically fire and theft) coverage. Do you have the appropriate policy at a competitive rate with a flexible insurer?

And do you have a record of your possessions? It's so easy to make a photographic/video record with a basic digital camera. Keep the memory card outside your home; perhaps email the photos to yourself or otherwise store them electronically.

You can often add travel insurance as a rider to your home insurance policy.

Again, shop around for the best deal. If you travel frequently, consider an annual policy. Also see if any of the insurance coverage you have at work would cover travel.

The first rule of investing is to protect what you have. But that rule also applies to the non-investment side of your life.

Mike Grenby is a columnist and independent personal financial advisor; he'll answer questions in this column as space allows but cannot reply personally - email

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