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Combating Rising Insurance Premiums

The recent storms in Kentucky did their share of damage. But what lies ahead could be worse. With storms in the spring of 2008, Hurricane Ike in September 2008, and harsh ice and wind storms in 2009, insurance companies throughout the country and state could raise premiums to recoup large losses from claims. If they do, here’s how you can save while still maintaining adequate coverage.

Check your riders and endorsements
Talk to your agent about what is and is not covered on your homeowner’s policy. John Blackford, an agency manager for Kentucky Farm Bureau in Louisville, says things such as earthquake coverage, water backup/sump pump overflow, and flood insurance are excluded on most policies.

“If you have these, it’s likely you are paying extra for these coverages. The same is true for scheduled items such as jewelry, collectibles, and other valuable items. Determine if your riders and endorsements are still appropriate for your situation. If not, eliminating any unneeded endorsements will help you save,” Blackford explains.

Check your deductible and coverage amount
Obvious ways to lower the cost of your insurance is to raise the deductible or decrease the coverage amount on your home or personal property. For older autos, you may consider dropping pricey collision coverage and keeping comprehensive coverage only. Review with your agent whether you have flexibility in these areas.

Look for discounts
The insurance world is a competitive business, and companies will work with you to keep or gain your business. “Most insurers offer multicar discounts, discounts for younger drivers including good grades and driver training, and multiline discounts (i.e., the company also writes your home, auto, boat, and life insurance),” Blackford says. “These are things your local agent should be talking with you about to make sure you are getting the most affordable coverage possible.”



CHOOSING AN INSURANCE AGENCY

For anyone who has ever experienced filing a claim, it’s easy to understand the convenience of going local. National online companies might be less expensive but hardly worth the trouble when it comes time to speak to a live person or request an adjuster.

To locate a Kentucky insurance agent or agency, or use other educational tools, visit the Kentucky Department of Insurance Web site at http://doi.ppr.ky.gov/kentucky.

From the top Consumer Protection and Education box, click on the “Insurance Consumer Page” link, then scroll to the bottom for “Information Search” to search by “Agent/Agency Database,” “Complaint Ratio Data,” or “Insurer/Company.”

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