Should you believe that “insurance is insurance wherever I live,” think again.While the primary components usually apply to insurance in general, individual states pass their own laws and publish specific regulations. Assume nothing. Learn about your state’s insurance laws and retain an experienced, licensed agent to advise you.
Whether you need auto, home or business insurance, become familiar with your state regulations to ensure that you purchase the proper coverage. For example, most U.S. states require a specified minimum of liability coverage for auto insurance coverage. However, the minimum amount of coverage can vary from state-to-state. Also, the necessity for multiple liability protection, including property damage and uninsured motorist coverage, may also vary.
Once you learn the minimum coverage your state requires, spend some quiet time thinking about the assets you are protecting. For example, if your state requires minimum liability insurance of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $10,000 property damage, consider this coverage in light of your personal assets. Should you own a home worth $250,000, an $18,000 boat, personal property valued at $30,000, and bank savings, checking and investment accounts with total balances of $75,000, your state’s minimum coverage is not sufficient.
As the cost of vehicle repair and medical treatment skyrockets, most state minimum coverage limits are too low to protect you should a serious accident occur. Understand that people who are injured in auto accidents can successfully sue you for their damages in excess of your liability coverage limits.
You should use a similar approach to your home insurance. If possible, insure your home for “replacement value,” instead of a specific amount only. Should serious damage occur to your home, the cost to make quality repairs often exceeds the amount of the covered loss, typically the pro-rated amount of coverage minus depreciation. With replacement coverage, your insurer should cover the total cost to restore your home to its former condition.
Always shop for the best deal within the parameters of your state laws and the amount of assets you must protect. You can save time using an independent agent with an interactive website. Instead of trekking all over town talking to agents, a multi-carrier insurance agency can give you multiple quotes from major companies that have attractive rates in your state.