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CONSUMERS: INFORMING SENIORS

(Revised September 2002)


Tips for Dealing with Insurance

Purchasing the right insurance that meets your needs can be challenging. Insurance can be one of the most important ongoing purchases you make to protect yourself and your family from financial hardship. Since your needs and financial situation change over time, it is important to understand and review your insurance policies to decide if the same policies are still right for you. If you are considering buying, reviewing, or replacing insurance, then the following insurance tips can be of assistance:

Check Out Your Agent and Company

Call the California Department of Insurance (CDI) at 1-800-927-4357 to see if an agent or company is licensed to sell insurance in California, or our Licensing Information page. Each agent is required to print his/her license number on all business cards, quotations, and advertisements.

Never Be Pressured or Intimidated by an Agent

It is not wise to purchase insurance at the first meeting. Seek the advice of someone you trust. Agents should never use high-pressure sales tactics.

Answer All Questions on the Application Correctly

Omitting or falsifying information can cause the company to deny your claim or cancel your policy. Never leave blanks. Dishonest agents can take advantage and fill in the blanks without your approval.

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Never Sign Anything You Don't Understand

Ask the agent questions and take notes for comparison. It is always a good idea to have a record of what was said for future reference. If an agent is unwilling to explain a policy to your satisfaction, then do not sign or buy the policy.

Compare Policies Carefully

It is important to buy the best coverage that meets your needs and budget. Don't buy coverage you can't afford, and never pay with cash. Make checks payable to the insurance company or agency name. Also, be aware of duplicate coverage between policies you own and policies you are considering.

Always Read Your Policy

Most life and health policies have a "free-look" period of between 10 to 30 days. Don't delay opening your mail, as insurance information is often time sensitive. Use this opportunity to make sure the policy you received is exactly what you purchased and what you need.

Keep Your Policy in a Safe Place

Tell a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor where you keep all your important documents, including your insurance policies. If you should become ill or pass away, this will assist the timely processing of any claims made upon the policies.

Please contact the CDI for informational brochures on all types of insurance such as: Auto, Home, Life, Annuities, Health, Medicare Supplement, and Long Term Care. The CDI can assist you with any insurance question, concern, or problem. You can reach us at 1-800-927-4357 or the Contact Us page.

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