Insurance
In this chapter, you’ll find information on different types of insurance, including homeowners, auto and medical, as well as practical tips on reading policies and shopping for coverage. As you organize your relocation to the Phoenix area, it’s also a good idea to review your family’s insurance needs. For your home, you’re probably planning to purchase new home furnishings, appliances and other equipment that should be noted in your updated home inventory. If you’ll be commuting to and from the office each day, you’ll need to know how many miles you’ll be driving. Keep handy copies of previous auto, home and health policies for easy reference when completing new insurance applications—it will save you time and aggravation.

INSURANCE IN ARIZONA
The Arizona Department of Insurance (ADOI) regulates insurance (i.e., auto, home, title, life and health) for the state. Online at www.id.state.az.us, consumers can find information about insurers and agents, file insurance complaints and use a variety of tools that help consumers shop for all types of insurance. Call ADOI Consumer Services at (602) 364-2499 or toll-free at (800) 325-2548 for general insurance questions and provider inquiries. The department’s headquarters is located at 2910 N. 44th Street in Phoenix and operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except on state holidays).

QUICK TIPS TO HELP YOU SELECT INSURANCE COVERAGE
Following are tips to assist you with all of your insurance shopping needs:
  • Get price quotes from several companies. Compare the rates and coverages. ADOI publishes auto and homeowners price comparisons that can help you compare sample rates. The price comparisons include annual price estimates for sample policies and information about a company’s complaint record and financial strength.
  • Include independent agents. Some agents only represent a single company or company group. Independent agents typically represent several companies and can give you multiple quotes at one time.
  • Determine what coverages you want and need. For instance, if you have valuable car stereo equipment or if you need more than basic residential coverage for jewelry, collections or other valuables, you may need endorsements that change or add coverage. Endorsements that add coverage will raise your premium.
  • Answer questions truthfully. When you apply for insurance or ask for a rate quote, wrong information may result in an incorrect price quote, rejection of your insurance application or cancellation of your policy.
  • Consider higher deductibles. Your policy probably will have deductibles, which are amounts you have to pay out of pocket on your claim before the insurance company pays. The higher your deductibles, the lower your premium. Choose the highest deductibles you can afford.
  • Ask about discounts. Insurance companies may offer policy discounts that will lower your premium. Ask your agent what discounts the company offers.
  • Make sure you have uninterrupted coverage. Never cancel an existing policy until you get your new policy or a written “binder.” A binder proves you have coverage until the company issues your policy.
  • Don’t pay cash to an individual agent. Pay with a personal check or money order made out to the insurance company or agency. Get a receipt for your premium payment.
  • If a company turns you down, keep shopping. Different companies have different criteria for accepting customers.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
When relocating to the Phoenix region, one thing you don’t want to delay on is purchasing homeowners insurance for your new home. The insurance covers both damage to property and liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or your families cause to other people. Homeowners insurance not only protects your assets, it’s also usually a requirement for securing a mortgage. The risk to lender of an uninsured home is too great; therefore, many may not lend to you or may require you to pay a higher premium until you acquire homeowners insurance.

— Make Sure Your Coverage Fits Your Needs
Insurance companies may sell several types of homeowners policies in Arizona, each with a different level of coverage. A homeowner’s policy typically contains a combination of coverages. According to the ADOI, the main types of coverage include the following:
  • Dwelling helps pay for any structural damage to your home. Other structures, such as a detached garage, a storage shed or any other building on your property are usually covered for 10 percent of the coverage on your house.
  • Personal Property reimburses you for the value of your contents, including household furniture, clothing and other personal belongings. The amount of insurance is usually 50 percent of the policy limit on your dwelling. Your policy also provides more limited coverage for personal property, commonly 10 percent, if it is stolen or damaged while you are away from home, including when you are on vacation.
  • Personal Liability covers nonautomobile accidents on and off your property if the injury or damage is caused by you, a family member or your pet. The liability coverage in your policy pays both for the cost of defending you and paying for any damages a court rules you must pay. Unlike other coverage in a homeowners policy, the liability coverage does not have a deductible that must be met before the insurer pays. The basic limit is usually $100,000 for each occurrence, but you may request higher limits, which are normally available for an additional cost.
  • Medical Payments covers situations in which someone outside your household is injured at your home regardless of fault and pays for reasonable medical expenses. In limited circumstances, this coverage may pay if you are involved in the injury of another person away from your home.
  • Additional Living Expenses pays if you temporarily must move into a motel or apartment due to a loss covered by your policy. The insurance company will cover reasonable and necessary additional living expenses, generally for up to 12 months. The typical policy pays up to 20 percent of the policy limit on your dwelling for expenses that exceed your normal daily living expenses.

ADOI advises that you purchase enough coverage to avoid a major financial loss if your home is badly damaged or destroyed. This means keeping a realistic dollar amount of coverage on your house. Also, it means that you should insure your home’s “replacement cost,” not its market value. The market value may be higher or lower than the cost to rebuild your home depending on the real estate market. If you have replacement-cost coverage and your house is destroyed, you can rebuild your home on the same lot at current local construction costs.

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