Reminder To New Jersey Consumers:
New Year Is An Appropriate Time
To Review Personal Insurance Policies
TRENTON – Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski reminded New Jerseyans that the start of a new year is a great time to review their insurance policies. Another calendar year often brings life changes such as a new baby, marriage, job change or a major purchase like a car or home. “Make time in the new year to talk to your agent or insurance company representative to find out whether current policies in force are providing adequate or unnecessary coverage,” said Commissioner Kobylowski. “Even if you have not seen any major changes in 2015, you may be eligible for discounts, or newly available insurance products that might better fit your needs.”
Talk to your agent or company representative about any changes to your passenger auto ownership or driving habits.
- Verify the limit of liability is adequate in case you are sued. If limits are too low, you could be liable for damages above your limits;
- Review your deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage. This is the amount you owe if you file a claim for damage to your car. If your car has aged, you may want to check to see if collision and comprehensive are still necessary or recommended;
- If in an accident, collect as much information as possible. Contact your agent or carrier for a recommended accident checklist. Also, the NAIC has the free smartphone application WreckCheck which walks consumers through the process of gathering information and photographs following an accident. These notes and photos can then be e-mailed directly to your agent or company representative. Download the free app from iTunes or Google Play.
Update your home inventory and make sure your homeowners or rental policy is up-to-date. Follow these guidelines as you review your insurance needs where you live:
- If you do not have a home inventory list, update it with the NAIC’s free smartphone app, myHOME Scr.APP.book, which can simplify and streamline the process. Download the free app from iTunes or Google Play. A paper version is available here: http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf;
- Add any valuable new holiday gifts to your home inventory list. Include new major appliance or other purchases such as cars, jewelry or recreational equipment. Some items, such as ATVs, snowmobiles or boats may need separate coverage. Verify this with your agent or company representative;
- Photograph every item added and check with your carrier if certain limits on special items like electronics or art need to be adjusted above those specified in the policy;
- Review your environment. Areas prone to earthquakes or flooding will likely need additional coverage and may not be covered by the standard policy. Talk to your agent about these perils and the risk they may pose.
If recently enrolled in a new health insurance plan for 2015, follow these tips:
- Make sure you have your new insurance cards;
- Before visiting a doctor, verify you have all the proper paperwork;
- Verify your doctor or medical provider is on your new carrier’s provider list before making an appointment;
- Prior to the appointment, make note of copays for in-network provider and out-of-network provider visits;
- While planning a trip, verify what medical care is available through your plan along your route and at your final destination. Find out about any applicable co-pays and deductibles if care is needed.
Major life changes such as birth, divorce, remarriage, career or home moves may indicate that a fresh look at life insurance is prudent. Regardless, the beginning of the year is a great time for a life insurance policy annual review.
Life Policy Checklist:
- Premium payments and benefit levels;
- The policy’s cash value;
- What the policy guarantees;
- Can the policy be converted to another form of insurance or annuity?
Everyone is vulnerable to insurance fraud. Stay alert for scam artists in 2015 with these tips:
- Protect your personal information like your social security number or bank information;
- Verify any new insurance company is licensed by the State of New Jersey by going here: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/data/inscomp.htm;
- Keep copies of everything including premium payment receipts;
- Contact the insurer if you do not receive a copy of the insurance policy describing your coverage within 30 days of purchase;
- To report fraud, contact the Bureau of Fraud Deterrence at 609-292-7272 x 51088 or file a complaint online at: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/consumer.htm#insurance.
For more information, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_consumers/insurance/ins_menu.htm
or call 1-800-446-7467.
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance