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NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME
TO “GET SMART” ABOUT YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE!
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) and your state insurance department encourage you to double-check
your insurance coverage during the fourth-annual Get Smart About
Insurance Week. Get Smart Week isn’t about selling or
canceling policies. It’s about making sure your family is properly
Recent studies by the NAIC show few Americans understand the details
of their insurance policies to the extent they should, and some aren’t
aware they could even be the victim of a scam and unknowingly purchase
a fake policy if they aren’t careful.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO
TO GET SMART ABOUT YOUR INSURANCE?
1. “Stop, Call, and Confirm” … before buying
Fraudulent insurance companies have become an increasing problem in
recent years, so the NAIC encourages consumers to help Fight
Fake Insurance. STOP before buying insurance, CALL
your state insurance department, and CONFIRM if the
company is legitimate and licensed to do business in your state. According
to most states’ laws, with very few exceptions, no insurance product
can be sold without the approval of the state insurance department.
2. Carefully review the insurance you currently carry and
identify areas where you may need additional or decreased coverage.
Schedule a yearly insurance check-up with your agent or insurance
carrier to review every policy you have… and to look for areas
of too much or too little coverage. In general, you should review your
coverage every 12 months or whenever there’s a major change in
your life (such as a new car, new home, birth or adoption of a child,
At your annual insurance check-up, don’t be afraid to ask a
lot of questions and be sure to take good notes.
The amount of insurance you need varies based on your circumstances.
Your insurance department can tell you what types and levels of coverage
your state’s laws require you to carry. In general, your property
should be insured for at least 80 percent of its replacement value.
When considering life insurance, a good rule of thumb is to buy life
insurance that is equal to five to 10 times your annual gross income.
3. Contact your state insurance department for free tips and
up-to-date information prior to purchasing health, life, auto,home,
or other insurance coverage.
Your state insurance department exists to serve you. It is an objective
source of information on insurance companies and the coverage they offer.
Although each state is different, most insurance departments offer
free guides that outline your state’s insurance laws and regulations.
They also may publish premium comparison reports for your use in shopping
for insurance. Take advantage of the services your state insurance department
offers and make yourself a smarter insurance consumer.
To help you contact your state insurance department, the NAIC Web
site, www.naic.org, provides a map of the United States with
links to each state’s insurance department Web site.
4. Ask your insurance provider about discounts.
Depending on the kind of insurance you’re considering, there are
a number of ways to reduce the cost of coverage:
- Healthy living — Some insurers take your lifestyle into consideration
when determining premiums. For instance, you may reduce the cost of
coverage by stopping smoking, driving more safely, or maintaining
a healthy weight.
- Good driving record — Many auto insurers will offer discounts
to drivers who have not made an insurance claim, been in an automobile
accident, or received a moving violation in three years.
- Good grades — Drivers who are legally classified as “youthful
drivers” (this category includes men under 25 years of age and
unmarried women under 21 years of age) and maintain a B average (3.0
on a 4.0 scale) or better in school often can receive discounts on
their auto insurance.
- Special education or training — Some insurers offer discounts
to drivers who complete a driver education or motor vehicle accident
- Multiple policy — Some insurers offer discounts of 5 to 15
percent if you have two or more policies with them. For instance,
if you already have a homeowner’s policy with an insurer, find
out if the insurer will discount an auto policy.
- Safety equipment — Make certain your insurers know of any
safety equipment in the areas they insure. As an example, if you have
an alarm on your home or auto, you may be entitled to a discount.
- Long-time policy — If you’ve had coverage through an
insurer for a number of years, ask about a reduced premium.
- Higher deductibles — A higher deductible generally means
a lower premium. But be sure to ask the agent about the pros and cons
of higher deductibles before making your decision.
This brochure is just the beginning. Contact
your state insurance department with questions you may have. For more
information about insurance coverage or to find your state insurance
department, visit www.naic.org/gsw or call 816-842-3600.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
2301 McGee Street, Suite 800
Kansas City, MO 64108-2604
Get Smart Week Toll-Free Hotline:
Get Smart About Insurance Week is brought
by your state insurance department and the NAIC
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