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‘get Smart about Insurance Week’ Kicks off Monday

1/16/2004

CONTACTO: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Have you added on to your home? Had a baby? Started a new business? If so, you could be due an insurance checkup.

"An annual insurance checkup will protect your family's financial health and give you peace of mind," said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher. "Knowledge is your best policy."

"Get Smart About Insurance Week" kicks off Monday, and Floridians are urged to review their home, life, auto and property insurance coverage. Gallagher said it's also not too soon to start planning for hurricane season, which starts June 1.

A survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows that more than half of Americans believe they have enough insurance, but only one-third believe they understand their policies. Florida consumers who want to test their insurance knowledge and find out how they stack up against others who have taken the test can go to www.fldfs.com and click on the Get Smart About Insurance Week icon.

Gallagher said while an insurance checkup may reveal you have inadequate coverage, it also could show that you are paying for more than you need. Ofreció estos consejos:


· Make sure you are dealing with a licensed agent who works for companies licensed to sell insurance in the state. Una tarjeta de presentación no constituye prueba de licencia.

· Shop among at least three companies for the best coverage at the best price.

· Ask about discounts. Some insurers offer discounts for multiple policies or longtime policyholders, or for an alarm in your home or automobile.

· A higher deductible may mean a lower premium, but understand the pros and cons of higher deductibles.

· Read your insurance policy carefully. It is a legal document.

· Keep your policy in a safe, waterproof location and take steps to protect your financial identity. Los ladrones de identidad han robado información para presentar reclamaciones fraudulentas y cobrar los pagos de los seguros.

It is critical that consumers verify licensure of the agent and company they are dealing with, Gallagher said. Unauthorized insurance activity has left tens of thousands of Floridians with unpaid claims. Since February 2001, more than 200 unauthorized entities, marketing and administrative affiliates, agents and other individuals have been ordered to stop selling bogus insurance.

Further, in a continuing effort to provide timely and important information to Floridians about a variety of financial services topics and to warn consumers about potential scams, the department last year launched a new online system that allows Internet users to search an expansive consumer database or track a request for assistance as it is handled by consumer specialists. Los consumidores ahora también pueden buscar las Preguntas Frecuentes actualizadas y las Guías para el Consumidor.

The new system, "Service Point," is available on the department's website at www.fldfs.com by clicking the "Service Point" icon.

Además del sitio Web, el departamento proporciona una línea de ayuda al consumidor, al 1-800-342-2762, de 8 a.m. a 7 p.m. hora del este de lunes a viernes. Los especialistas de la línea de ayuda al consumidor pueden asistir a los consumidores con sus preguntas acerca de la cobertura, verificar el estado de la licencia de su agente o compañía de seguros, presentar una queja o informar un posible fraude.