WGN-TV Show Notes — August 20, 2002

ANCHOR: IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE TERRORIST ATTACKS A YEAR AGO, THE NATION’S INSURANCE COMPANIES TOOK A LOOK AT THEIR BOOKS – AND REALIZED THEY WERE TAKING A BIG HIT ON MANY HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE POLICIES.

ANCHOR: AS A RESULT, PREMIUMS HAVE GONE UP AND COVERAGE HAS BEEN DENIED MORE OFTEN. WGN’S MONEY SAVING EXPERT ILYCE GLINK TELLS YOU THE BEST WAY TO FIND HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE AND SAVE MONEY WHEN YOU BUY IT.

PERHAPS YOUR HOUSE HAS CAUGHT ON FIRE. OR, YOUR BASEMENT HAS FLOODED. OR A TREE CRUSHED YOUR GARAGE IN A STORM. IF YOU’VE HAD THIS KIND OF BAD LUCK WITH YOUR HOUSE, GET READY FOR ANOTHER HIT. YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MAY DECLINE TO RENEW YOUR HOMEOWNER’S POLICY.

COMPANIES CAN CANCEL YOUR POLICY FOR OTHER REASONS AS WELL, INCLUDING A POOR CREDIT HISTORY – EVEN IF YOU’VE BEEN MAKING ON-TIME PAYMENTS TO THE INSURER FOR YEARS!

IF YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A POLICY, CHECK OUT THESE RESOURCES. SUBMIT AN APPLICATION WITH ONE OR MORE OF THESE ONLINE INSURANCE BROKERS: QUOTESMITH.COM, QUICKEN.COM, INSWEB.COM, INSURE.COM, OR YAHOO.COM. YOU MIGHT ALSO TRY INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE COMPANIES AS WELL, INCLUDING COUNTRYWIDE.COM, WHICH ALSO OWNS COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, TRAVELERS.COM, HARTFORD.COM, AND LIBERTYMUTUAL.COM.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE HOW OTHER CONSUMERS HAVE RATED VARIOUS INSURANCE COMPANIES, CHECK OUT JDPOWER’S WEB SITE (JDPOWER.COM). YOU MAY ALSO BE ABLE TO GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS (NAIC.ORG).

FINDING AN INSURANCE COMPANY IS GOOD. SAVING MONEY ON YOUR HOMEOWNER’S POLICY IS BETTER. HERE ARE SOME EASY THINGS YOU CAN DO TO LOWER YOUR PREMIUM COST:

SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST PRICE, BUT IF YOU BUY YOUR AUTO AND HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE FROM THE SAME COMPANY, YOU COULD SAVE FIFTEEN PERCENT ON YOUR PREMIUM.

YOU SHOULD ALSO RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE. THE HIGHER YOUR DEDUCTIBLE, THE MORE MONEY YOU’LL SAVE ON YOUR ANNUAL PREMIUM.

YOU MIGHT GET A DISCOUNT IF YOU ADD A SECURITY SYSTEM OR BUY A GUARD DOG THAT GOES THROUGH AN ACCREDITED SECURITY PROGRAM

IF YOU ADD STORMS, REINFORCE YOUR ROOF OR MAKE YOUR HOME MORE RESISTANT TO WINDSTORMS AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS, YOUR PREMIUMS COULD GO DOWN AS WELL.

HERE’S ONE PLACE WHERE AGE HELPS. SINCE RETIRED PEOPLE STAY HOME MORE OFTEN THAN WORKING PEOPLE, THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE ROBBED AND HAVE MORE TIME TO MAINTAIN THEIR HOME. IF YOU’RE AT LEAST 55, YOU COULD QUALIFY FOR A DISCOUNT OF UP TO 10 PERCENT ON YOUR POLICY.

DON’T OVER INSURE YOUR PROPERTY. EVEN IF YOUR HOUSE GOES UP IN SMOKE, YOU WON’T HAVE TO BUY A NEW LOT TO REBUILD YOUR HOME.

IF YOU’VE KEPT YOUR COVERAGE WITH THE SAME COMPANY FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND HAD FEW OR NO CLAIMS, YOU COULD SAVE 5 TO 10 PERCENT. IT COSTS INSURANCE COMPANIES MORE THAN THAT TO FIND GOOD POLICY HOLDERS.

FINALLY, CHECK OUT A FREE BROCHURE, “12 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY ON YOUR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE”, PUBLISHED BY THE INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE (III.ORG). YOU NEVER WANT TO PAY MORE THAN YOU HAVE TO.