Jean Chatzky
When it comes to getting the proper insurance coverage, people often procrastinate over and over again. Jean talks to Kimberly Lankford, columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and author of The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance and Still Get the Coverage You Need. "Insurance has its own language, and it's complicated to translate that into real language," Kimberly says. "It helps people to know that your insurance protects your entire financial plan—pretty much everything you're worried about, financially."

Tips on Getting Insurance Policies:
  • Use online calculators to get a rough idea of how much life insurance you need—keep in mind, it's recommended that you have eight to 10 times your income.
  • When deciding on a homeowners policy, you need to find out what the replacement cost of your home will be—not its market value. Stay on top of this, too—if you add an extension, be sure to notify your company.
  • Take account of your belongings. "Most possessions coverage is only 50% of the dwelling coverage. If you have especially valuable things, make sure they don't add up to more than 50%. If they do, it's easy to get extra coverage.
  • In most of the country you can get individual health insurance policies for much less than you'd think—especially if you're healthy. Shop around.
  • Raise the deductible on your auto and homeowners policy. You can also do this with your health insurance, if you're young and healthy. Raising it to $1,000 can really lower your premiums.
  • Stay away from small claims, such as lost luggage. It costs your company a lot in administrative fees, and they could drop you. Plus, insurance companies share information, so you may have trouble getting on another plan.
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.


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