Property and casualty insurance encompasses a vast area of insurance protection. For the sake of keeping this brief, I will only touch on a few of these coverages that are likely to affect you.
If you are under age 25 and single, not only are you one lucky dog, but there are also some real bargains out there in automobile insurance premiums if you know what to ask for. There is a discount if you took a course in driver's training. Some states require it to obtain a license. If you are a student, or as a student you maintained a "B" average, you can qualify for another discount. What, you may ask, are these discounts worth? Up to as much as 25%, depending on the company. You must ask for these discounts; they aren't automatic. Neither is a "B" average! Who said good grades don't pay off?
If at all possible, insure all of your family's cars with the same company, because most companies offer multi-car discounts, if you ask for it. If you are a member of an auto club (AAA, etc.) don't purchase the towing protection, because you already have it, and both won't pay. You do need to protect car phones, etc., with a special rider.
One way to really save is to consider increasing your deductibles on comprehensive and collision coverage. Check and see what the savings would be and then figure out how much you have wasted in premiums since your last claim.
Homeowners should carry an "All Risk, Replacement Cost Contract," with a rider to protect against inflation. Most small pieces of jewelry can be covered under your basic policy, but expensive pieces should be scheduled on a special endorsement to obtain full coverage. This is also true for furs, fine arts, antiques, and cameras. You will need a current appraisal, and I would recommend that you take a photograph of all items. A picture can truly be worth a thousand words, and in this case, thousands of dollars. Include a theft extension rider to cover items lost away from your home. Make sure that your liability limits are coordinated with a personal umbrella liability policy that should cover you for at least $2,000,000.
Last, but far from least, let me say a word about your agent. I would strongly recommend that you keep all of your property and casualty coverage with one agent, because you are no good to anyone if you have it spread all over the countryside. Is an agent going to do battle with his company for you if your premiums total only $300? I think not. You stand a much better chance if he is concerned about losing your entire account. You need to review all of your coverages every year to see if they are still adequate and that everything is covered, including new purchases. I know that this may take a little time, but it's better to do this prior to a claim than after it. Remember, bad insurance is like a bad parachute. It can let you down when you need it the most.
Click here for previous articles by Stanley Greenfield, RHU.