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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance


Acting Commissioner Richard J. Badolato

For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2016

For Further Information:
Ed Rogan or Marshall McKnight (609) 292-5064


Department of Banking and Insurance Reminds New Jersey Consumers that the New Year is a Good Time to Review Their Auto and Homeowners Insurance Needs and Policies

TRENTON -  As the new year begins, Department of Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Richard J. Badolato today encouraged New Jersey residents to review their auto, homeowners or renters insurance policies to make sure they have the proper level of coverage at the best price, and reminded consumers to update policies if they experienced a life change such as marriage or relocation in the past year.

“The beginning of a new year is an excellent time for consumers to make sure their coverage meets their needs,” said Acting Commissioner Badolato. “It is a good opportunity for consumers to review policies carefully, discuss them with their agent or broker if need be, update their policies and make sure they have the coverage they need.”

While auto, homeowners and renters insurance policies have renewal dates at various times throughout the year, consumers can generally change their coverage at any time.
Acting Commissioner Badolato suggested that consumers make sure they understand the terms of their policies and use the guidelines below to review their coverage.


Understanding Your New Jersey Auto Policy

For consumers to effectively review their policies, it is important that they first understand the terms of the policy, what it covers and how much coverage it provides.

  • Liability – This coverage pays others for damages from an auto accident that you cause. It also pays for a lawyer to defend you if you are sued for damages that you cause;
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Medical expenses for consumers and their families following an auto accident is called PIP. The default amount carriers are required to offer drivers is $250,000. However, consumers may purchase less and will see a savings as a result. The minimum required coverage is $15,000. Talk to your carrier or agent about additional possible savings on this coverage;
  • Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured (UM/UIM) – This coverage pays up to the limit of your policy selected if you or your family members are injured or your car is damaged and the person responsible has no insurance or not enough coverage;
  • Collision and Comprehensive – This is another form of first-party coverage that becomes effective when an insured driver’s car strikes another car or object. Collision coverage pays for damage repairs, less a deductible. Comprehensive coverage also includes a deductible and pays for damage to a covered auto that is damaged by a covered loss other than collision such as striking a deer or other animal, theft, flood, fire, vandalism or fallen objects like a tree.

For more information on the New Jersey auto insurance policy, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_consumers/pdf/everythingauto2006.pdf


Examine the Auto Policy for Coverage and Savings or Shop Around

  • Update Policy/Review Coverage Limits – Vehicle purchases may impact the desired level of coverage limits. Make sure coverage is adequate to protect assets, particularly in liability. For more information on how life changes can impact insurance costs go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/pressreleases/pr140630.html;
  • Ask for discounts – A defensive driving course, good student driver, student away at school and anti-theft, are common discounts. However, there may be more. Checking with the carrier or authorized insurance agent on all available discounts for each policy is recommended;
  • Review Deductibles – Consumers should consider selecting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage as this can reduce premiums;  
  • Consider Dropping Comprehensive and Collision on Older Vehicles - As a car ages, the value may no longer justify carrying these options. Removing these coverages on older cars will likely reduce premiums.


Reviewing Homeowners and Renters Insurance

  • Renters Insurance – Rental units may have coverage for the dwelling structure, however their contents such as furniture, appliances and other personal items of value are not typically covered by landlords. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive;
  • Update the home inventory – The New Year is an apt time to make additions to a home inventory as new gifts and major purchases arrive. Renters and homeowners should review the home inventory and if they have not created one, should do so. Update or create the home inventory using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ 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: www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf. Photograph every item added to the home and check with your carrier if certain limits on special items, like jewelry or electronics, need to be adjusted;
  • Review Limits – The increased cost to repair or replace homes may mean that limits need to be adjusted. Check with your carrier to verify if a coverage limit adjustment is indicated. Consider purchasing additional coverage for special items as well as risks not covered, including earthquakes and floods;
  • Flood Insurance – Homeowners and renters should seriously consider flood insurance no matter where they live. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damages. Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). More information is available at www.floodsmart.gov.


Guidelines Related to Both Homeowners and  Renters Insurance

  • Consider Umbrella Insurance - Umbrella Insurance is a typically inexpensive additional liability coverage, that can be added to existing policies. For more information on umbrella insurance, go to http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/pressreleases/pr150708.html;
  • Shop Around – If still not satisfied with an insurance quote, consumers have generally succeeded in saving money on premium payments by shopping around. The key to successful auto and homeowners or renters insurance shopping is to make sure that each quote received provides the identical coverage limits for each part of the auto and homeowners or renters policies, as well as the same applicable deductibles and all available discounts offered.

To find a licensed auto and homeowners or renters insurer go to these links: Auto or Homeowners or renters

  • Ask for Bundling Discounts – If switching carriers for auto and homeowners or renters insurance is the best option, consumers often receive additional savings by also switching their homeowners or renters insurance. Often called bundling, carriers frequently provide discounts when insuring a household’s property and autos.


More Information

For more information, call the Department’s Consumer Assistance line: 1-800-446-7467 or go to: http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_insurance/index.htm

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