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 Denver 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 Colorado
In Colorado, the state’s insurance regulator is the Colorado Devision of Insurance (CDI). At its website (www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/), you’ll find a wealth of consumer information and names of insurance providers that are allowed to market their services in the state. There is also a Consumer Help Line for answers to general insurance questions or for information on filing an insurance-related complaint. Call (800) 930-3745 if you’re outside the Denver metro area.

QUICK TIPS TO HELP YOU SELECT INSURANCE COVERAGE
CDI recommends these tips to assist you with all of your insurance shopping needs.
  • Get price quotes from several companies. Compare the rates and coverages. CDI 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
Colorado law does not require residents to purchase homeowners insurance, but it is generally a good idea. Insurance companies may sell several types of homeowners policies in Colorado, each with a different level of coverage:
  • HO-1 policies provide coverage for limited options and are carried by few insurance companies in Colorado. This policy covers specific damages caused by lightning, fire, vandalism and the like.
  • HO-2 policies provide more extensive coverage than the base HO-1 policy. It includes damages resulting from freezing pipes, weight from ice or snow and the like. Coverage provided by these policies may differ by company.
  • HO-3 policies are the most common in Colorado and are also called the “Special Form Policy.” This policy covers your home for most types of damage, except those specifically excluded in the policy.
  • HO-4 policies cover damages and personal liability for those living in an apartment.
  • HO-5 policies cover the same as HO-3, but include the loss of personal possessions.
  • HO-6 policies are specifically for condominium owners and have the same coverage as HO-4.
  • HO-8 policies cover the same as HO-1, but offers cash coverage instead of replacement cost coverage.

Generally, HO-3 policies provide the most coverage for the price, but some companies do not offer them. Read your policy carefully to know exactly what coverages are included. If a company offers you a policy with less coverage than you’d like, ask if other policy forms are available. You also may be able to buy additional coverage by adding endorsements to the base policy.

— Make Sure Your Coverage Fits Your Needs
CDI advises that you 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. 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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