Get Smart About Insurance

William J. Larkin, Jr.

February 18, 2005

Recent studies by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show few Americans understand the details of their insurance policies to the extent they should, and some aren’t aware they could even be the victim of a scam and unknowingly purchase a fake policy if they aren’t careful.

When it comes to insurance, knowledge is your best policy. The NYS Insurance Department is one of the best resources for insurance-related questions and concerns. There are several steps consumers can take to get smart about their insurance coverage:

Call your state insurance department or visit your state insurance department’s Web site for free tips and up-to-date information prior to purchasing health, life, auto, home or other insurance coverage.

Schedule a routine "check-up" with your insurance providers at least once a year.

Inquire about the cost benefit of opting for higher deductibles.

Ask specifically about discounts for good driving records, good health, good grades, special education or training.

Shop around for identical products and services. Not every company charges the same rate.

Insurance is an essential element in everyday life that provides security and stability for us and our families as well as our property rights. We should all review our insurance policies from time to time to ensure that we are properly covered.

The State Insurance Department offers various guides and publications on topics such as auto, health, homeowners, and long-term care insurance, as well as many other services to aid New Yorkers. The consumer hotline is 1-800-342-3736 and web site: