If you answered ‘yes” to any of the firs t three questions o r ‘no” to the last one, the following information could save you thousands of dollars. Actually, no matter how you answered the questions, you will probably be surprised at the following information.

First of all, if you have children, if you own anything, if you do anything, you NEED insurance . Why? To protect your children, to protect what you own , and to protect what you earn now and will earn in the future.

If you have children, you should carry life insurance on yourself to protect them. It will be difficult and expensive for your family if you die. You should make sure that they have adequate funds to survive while they make the adjustment to the new change. How much? Probably about five to seven times what you earn annually. If you are a housewife or househusband, you still need coverage. How much would depend upon what it would cost to hire someone to take care of the house and children for the next five to seven years.

Shop around. Rates vary from company to company, and there are several different types of life insurance. Ask the insurance people you visit with to fully explain the policies they sell. , When you do buy, make sure you know and under-stand your policy, Check to see if you can get a better deal if you do purchase a policy that insures both you and your spouse.

If you own anything, you should carry replacement insurance for it. This should include coverage in case of fire, theft, loss, or weather damage. Even if you rent an apartment, you need insurance on your personal property and furnishings. Don’t depend on the apartment owner’s insurance. He may have little or no insurance that will benefit you. If you own your home, your policy should cover your house and other buildings, as well. Understand your policy. Make sure it covers what you think it does. Be sure the weather damage includes wind, hail, flooding. If you are in a quake area, check to see if you have coverage for quake damage. And, just being insured for these things is not the whole answer. Make sure you are adequately covered.

For instance, if you have a mortgage on you home, your lending institution probably requires a minimum amount of insurance coverage. That should be enough right? Wrong! They are only concerned about covering the loan -- protecting themselves. You need enough coverage to protect yourself, too. In case of extensive damage or complete destruction, you will want to restore or replace your home as well as pay the lender.

Your personal property and furnishings policy should provide for replacement of your items, not the current market value. Current market value does not even pay you what you paid for the items. It is figured on the purchase price and then some depreciated for each year since you bought the item. In effect, for many items you will be paid next to nothing. You need to get enough to replace the items. This is called replacement insurance. Replacement insurance costs a little more, but after all, the cost of replacing your property in case of a disaster or theft is the reason you carry the insurance.

Find out what kind of risks your personal property is insured against and make sure all of your things are insured. Sometimes particular types of things - like jewels, art, furs, water-craft, snowmobiles, computers, home-office equipment ----- have limited or no coverage on a regular policy. You can purchase policy endorsements to extend or increase your coverage.

Go through your house or apartment room by room - - - - and make a complete list of everything. Take this list, complete with photographs and estimated cost of replacement to your insurance salesman.

Discuss it with him. Make sure you have adequate coverage. Then keep this list in a safe place - - - not in your home where it might be lost or destroyed if your property is stolen or damaged. The list will help you deal with adjusters, when you need to make a claim. Whenever you buy a new insurable item be sure to talk to your insurance person about it AND ADD IT TO YOUR LIST.

OK. So you now have insurance on yourself, your home, your personal

property; that should be about it, right? No, sorry, that’s definitely

not enough.


And, even worse, the outrageous settlements that are being awarded? Think >you don’t have to worry about it? Well, you do. You are at risk. We all are at risk ----- any one of us could be sued for thousands of dollars over some minor accident or injury that we may not even really be responsible for ---- and you could lose your home, your car, and any other assets that you have.

If you own a car that is involved in an accident, you can be sued ------even if you aren’t the driver. If you own a house or other property, you can be sued if some-one gets injured while on your property ----- even if that person was there without your express permission or invitation.

You need insurance coverage to protect what you own. Even if you don’t own very much, you need to protect what you are earning now and what you will earn in the future. YOU NEED LIABILITY INSURANCE. The good news is that liability insurance is cheap. YES! CHEAP!

If you have automobile insurance, you probably already have liability insurance included in your policy. That’s a good start but only a start. First, check the extent of your coverage . It probably looks like a lot, but just as probably, it isn’t enough. The required minimums in most states are inadequate. Consider the outrageously large settlements awarded to people. Then, consider the damages that are possible if your car goes out of control. Remember that when settlements are awarded, you are responsible for the amount that your insurance doesn’t cover. Don’t be misled by the common belief that people can’t sue you for more than your insurance would cover. That just isn’t true. People have lost their homes and all their assets and even a portion of their future earnings in lawsuits, because they didn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the damages. Still think your coverage is adequate? Increasing your liability coverage isn’t awfully expensive. The more you buy, the cheaper per thousand it is ----- so if you double what you already carry, the price won’t double.

Also make sure that your insurance will cover no matter who is driving your car. You never know when someone may borrow your car. You know how things seem to happen . If someone who isn’t insured just takes the car around the block well, there’s sure to be an accident. Make sure, too, that you have coverage for you and your passengers if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

Auto liability is an absolute must, but you’ll need liability on your property, too. You need coverage to protect yourself from being sued by anyone who is injured on your property. The injury does not necessarily have to be your fault . It can just be the result of an accident. But if it happens on your property, you are at risk. Again, check to see that you have an adequate amount of coverage.

You also need to know if your liability policy covers special situations in your life-style. For instance, if you conduct a business in your home, you may need a different policy or an endorsement on your present policy. You may not think you conduct a business in your home, but if you have a home-office or do some baby sitting in your home, it may be viewed as a business.

Having employees may require a change in your policy, too. Think you don’t have any employees? Think again! A youngster who cuts your grass or a person coming in to clean one morning a week or someone coming in to sit with your children may be considered employees. Check to see if you need a policy endorsement.

If you have contractors working on your place ---- remodeling, repairing, landscaping, or whatever ----- make sure they have liability insurance AND worker’s compensation insurance. If they don’t carry insurance on themselves, you could be sued in the event of an injury! Make sure they are covered before you let them begin working.

By now you are probably thinking, ‘Wow! All this coverage will cost a fortune!” Well, liability insurance is not really very costly and it protects you from the loss your car, home, assets, and even future earnings. Extended, extra, and umbrella liability is a bargain. You’ll probably find that automobile insurance is rather costly, but homeowners insurance, and personal property coverage isn’t too bad.

You can save on your insurance costs if you:

(1) Ask your state insurance department for a list of insurance companies and their prices.

(2) Shop around and talk to several insurers before you buy.

(3) Check into buying all you policies from one company.

(4) Ask about an ‘extra liability umbrella.”

(5) Ask about special discounts.

One disaster or being sued one time could mean losing everything you own. Make sure you are protected.

OK . Perhaps the most important insurance is health insurance. Yes, we know, health coverage can be expensive. But medical costs are REALLY expensive ---- they can wipe you out with one major hospitalization. In addition, if you have health insurance you are assured of the best care a hospital has to offer. Without insurance, you could even be turned away at some hospitals.

So, what do you do? Well, you shop around. Again. And you learn about health insurance so you know what it is you are buying . Even if your employer offers a health plan, you would be wise to check it out and see what kind of coverage you have. It is getting more and more difficult for employers to keep up with the rising costs, so they may be cutting back on your coverage. Be sure you are well covered.

If your employer does offer a health plan, it’s probably the best deal for the bucks you will find. But know what the coverage is. If it isn’t sufficient, you might want to look for supplemental insurance.

Also, if you are worried about a possible layoff, you are probably worried about your coverage . Check with your employer to see if you are covered by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. (COBRA) If you have health coverage and your company employs more than nineteen, (19) you should be covered. This act guarantees you an option of continuing group health coverage for eighteen months (18) after termination.

If you have no group coverage available to you, you will have to go looking for a policy on your own . Lucky you! It’s going to cost you but as we said, no one should be without health insurance, If you and your family have no pre-existing conditions and can fly through physical examinations with no problem, you may be able to find good insurance that is less expensive ----- not inexpensive, just less expensive.

If you do have pre-existing conditions, you may have to settle for a policy with a rider that excludes that condition for a time. It’s not a good idea to settle for one that excludes it for your lifetime, however.

Most policies will offer you some option on what they call deductible. A deductible is an amount that you must pay to the hospital before your insurance will kick in. Naturally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Think carefully before you agree to a large deductible to get a lower premium. Also, be sure to check on how the deductible works. For instance, if your policy is $1000 deductible ---- is that $1000 per individual or per family? Usually there is a family limit so that if you have nine family members, you wouldn’t have a $9000 deductible in family bills. Know what you are getting.

No matter what kind of insurance you have ---- even if its through your employer - you need to know what the maximum coverage is . Even if the maximum looks quite large, remember that hospital bills can build up to as much as $200,000 or more in short order . If your insurance maximum isn’t AT LEAST that much, check out supplemental major medical insurance. The cost shouldn’t be that excessive.

Don’t consider any other supplemental insurance. Dread disease insurance is so limited and usually specifies such conditional rules that you will seldom, if ever, benefit from it . Good health insurance is costly enough, don’t spend your money on insurance that will be of little or no benefit.

If you have a serious or chronic existing condition, you will be hard-pressed to find a good health insurance policy at a price you can afford. It’s going to be real difficult. Check with your state insurance department. They may be able to give you some help. Some states have special insurance programs for the hard to insure. You may have to show proof of rejection ---- applications to mainstream companies that have turned you down.

Health insurance is a bummer, but you should have it. In fact, you should have a regular coverage and major medical coverage . It will take a bite out of your earnings, but if you become ill and are taken to a hospital, you can say, Yes, I do have insurance, and yes. I have major medical coverage.” You’ll be able to afford the best care they can give you.

Being under-insured or not insured at all is not worth the risk even if it does save you some money on premiums. In the long run, it may cost you thousands of dollars.



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