(BPT) – The last months of the year don’t just usher in the holidays, they also herald the arrival of open enrollment for employee benefits at many American companies. While you’re rushing to fulfill your holiday gift list, it pays to take a few moments to consider what benefits you’ll choose for the coming year — and to be aware of some innovative new ones that may be available to you.
In addition to your health plan and standard offerings like dental or life insurance, your employer may make available a menu of other voluntary benefits. Here are some new offerings that may be on the table in your office:
Auto and homeowners insurance
Typically, you’re on your own when it comes to getting quotes, negotiating premiums, and securing coverage for two of the most common and important types of insurance Americans own. Some employers are now offering their workers access to these must have products.
It can be as easy as you hear on TV. Your employer may provide you with access to MetLife Auto & Home’s on-line tool that provides an accurate auto premium in about 2 minutes. Finalizing the application is fast, easy, and convenient, and you can opt to have the premiums automatically deducted from your paychecks just as you do for your health insurance premium. MetLife Auto & Home’s 2015 research showed purchasing auto through its workplace program in 2014 saved, on average, $500 per customer countrywide. Visit MetLife.com, or talk to your employer to learn more.
Some events in life may require you to seek legal advice, yet attorneys’ fees can be costly. Your employer may offer access to free or low-cost group legal plans that provide services, such as document and contract reviews or preparation, telephone and office consultation, family and personal matters, financial matters, court appearances related to driving infractions, home and real estate matters, writing your will and planning your estate, and even civil lawsuits.
These services can be a great, low-cost way to manage common legal needs.
Well being benefits
Many employers now offer access to dental and life insurance, and, hopefully, you’re wise enough to take advantage of both, if they’re available to you. A growing number of companies have begun adding more lifestyle-focused benefits, such as full- or partially-paid gym memberships, office-sponsored support groups for a range of health issues, such as weight loss and general fitness, and company retreats to nurture mental health.
Pet health insurance
In 2014, 64 million American households had at least one pet living with them— more than half of the total number of U.S. households — according to market research firm Packaged Facts. Most pet owners will face an emergency medical expense bill of $2,000 to $4,000 at least once in their pet’s lifetime, according to one Kiplinger’s report. You love your dog or cat, but if it needed an expensive operation or type of medical treatment, would you be able to afford it?
Some employers are now offering access to pet insurance to employees — a benefit that’s relatively low cost, but which can have a major impact on your peace of mind.
The open enrollment window can be short, so be sure you know what’s available to you through your employer’s benefit offerings. Investigate your options now, so you make the most of some innovative benefits that could help save you money throughout the coming year.