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Insurance: Apples to apples, Part 2

Last week we talked about automobile insurance. Now let’s talk about other policy products and how you can best protect yourself.

HOMEOWNERS: Primarily, there are two kinds of policies for owned dwellings. The easiest way to understand the difference is that the first says “For a specified amount of premium we will cover you for “this, this and that” ….” These are referred to as Named Peril coverages. In other words, if it ain’t named, it ain’t covered.The second type says “For a specified amount of premium we will cover you for EVERYTHING except “this, this and that.” If they do not specifically exclude something, you are covered. Also, your limits of liability, personal effects, etc. are defined in either policy. Know what your coverage is before a loss occurs — don’t find out afterwards that you’re standing out in the rain with no umbrella.

LIFE INSURANCE PRODUCTS: Let’s face it, rates for all companies are based on the same thing. Average life expectancy (adjusted by good habits — non smoker discounts, etc. — and bad habits — surcharged medical conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or sky-rocketing cholesterol) is exactly the same for a person insured with Prudential as it is for a person insured with New York Life. This is why customers need to read, understand, and get all questions answered by an agent — if one company says the price is $100 a month and the second company says $200 a month, it would be rare indeed that the provisions are apples to apples. It’s more like apples to pogo sticks. Never buy on price alone as it can be deceptive. The words “deceptive” and “fraudulent” are kind of cousins. The line between is thin.

DUPLICATE COVERAGE: Do you carry Towing and Road Service in three or four different places? You may well have it on your auto insurance policy, your car warranty policy (if you have one), and even on certain credit cards. The same is true of appliance and other warranties. If you rent a car in Boston, do you need the coverage the desk agent insists you need — or do you already have it? When you purchase a vacuum cleaner at Walmart, you can purchase an additional time period of warranty beyond what the manufacturer provides. However if you read the fine print on some of your credit cards, you get double the manufacturer’s coverage just for using the credit card to purchase the item.

If you’re a techie type, you’ve scanned numerous documents — or downloaded them — and saved them to a computer file on your harddrive. If you’re a non-techie type, you have a bulging paper-filled file that contains pages and pages and pages of small print pertaining to everything you own. I know it’s dreadfully boring, but take the time to know what you actually have. People routinely keep track of their money balances; it’s time to take note of and keep track of your insurance availability should you suffer a future loss.

Back to fraud next week. This apples to apples insurance stuff even bores me, however it’s really important in the big scheme of things.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

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