Shopping Guide for Homeowners Insurance

The New York State Insurance Department just released the 2010 edition of the Consumer Shopping Guide for Homeowners and Tenants Insurance, which allows homeowners and renters to choose the right insurance coverage for their needs.
“We hope that the guide will be a useful tool for people,” said Andy Mais, a spokesperson for the Insurance Department, “and it will make it easier for them to get the coverage they need.”
The guide compares premiums for policies by different insurers for a sample property. It covers the types of policies available, how they apply to protecting one’s home and property, how to report losses, handle disputes with providers, and file complaints with the State Insurance Department.
The various details of the policies require attentive reading and proper adjustments. For example, homeowners insurance does not cover floods or earthquakes, for which separate coverage must be purchased.
Deductibles work in different ways. Some are based on dollar value while others on percentage of the replacement value of the home or the amount of insurance coverage. So a flat deductible of $1,000 will work different than 5 percent on a $500,000 home, which amounts to $25,000.
Some coastal areas require mandatory hurricane deductibles that vary from one to five percent depending on the insurer and are triggered depending on the category of the storm or just the wind speed.
Consumers should contact their insurance provider or broker to discuss their particular needs and adjust their policy accordingly. They can also contact the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736.
“Read your policy, read the Guide, understand how your insurance works and update your policy if you need to,” said Superintendant James Wrynn.
For the Downstate Edition for the New York City Metro area and additional resources, visit the Insurance Department’s website at: www.ins.state.ny.us.

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