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Home Insurance

• The 17 Perils
• Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost
• Understanding Deductibles
• Documentation of Valuables
• Expanding Coverage
• Floaters for the Finer Things
• Flood Insurance
• Insuring a Home
• Liability Coverage
• The Basics of Homeowners Insurance
• Cover Yourself with an Umbrella Liability Policy
• Insuring a Condominium
• Special Circumstances: Property Under Construction and Rental Property
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Auto Insurance

• On the Move: Insurance Protection for Your Automobile and Other Vehicles
• Auto Insurance Basics: Liability, Collision, Comprehensive
• Additional and Optional Coverages
• Who's At Fault?
• Premiums and Discounts: Factors that Affect Your Rate
• What To Do After an Accident
• Getting Your Car Back
• Using Your Personal Car for Business
• Risky Drivers
• Adding a Teen or College-bound Driver
• Motorcycle Insurance
• Watch the Hull: Insurance for Boats and Other Watercraft
• Specialty Policies Insure Fun
• Aviation Insurance
Risk Management

• Term Life Insurance
• Whole Life Insurance
• Universal Life Insurance
• Variable Life Insurance
• Auto Insurance
• Insurance Claims
• Maximizing Insurance Benefits
• Protecting Your Home
• Assessing Disability Insurance
• Types of Health Care
• Additional Liability Coverage
• HMOs and PPOs
• Evaluating Insurance Companies
• Long-Term-Care Costs
• Medicare Coverage

Evaluating Insurance Companies

How do you compare one life insurance company with another? What features do you examine? What criteria do you use? How do you know what to look for?

These are difficult questions. Even so, making sure your insurance company is financially sound is an important part of ensuring family security.

Fortunately, there are a number of independent companies that will make these evaluations for you. These rating companies carefully examine each insurance company in the areas of profitability, debt, liquidity, and other factors. From the results of these examinations, they then issue overall ratings.

Looking up a companys rating will provide you with a snapshot of that companys financial health. And tracking that rating on a regular basis should give you some advanced warning of trouble.

The four most prominent rating companies are A.M. Best, Standard and Poors, Moodys, and Fitch Ratings. Each of these services uses slightly different criteria when rating companies. As a result, each may have a slightly different view of a given company. A.M. Best ratings are based on financial conditions and performance; Moodys, Fitch Ratings, and Standard and Poors ratings are based on claims-paying ability.

You should be able to find copies of at least one of these ratings in the reference section of your local library. If you are unable to find them, or if the ratings in your library are outdated, you can contact the services directly. All four services will provide ratings over the phone.

The A.M. Best Company: 908-439-2200,
Standard & Poors: 212-438-2000,
Moodys Investor Services: 212-553-0377,

© 2003 Emerald Publications

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