7 points to consider before you buy any insurance policy

insurance tipsWhen buying insurance, whether its home, life, auto, rental or other:

  1. Find out whether your state insurance department offers any information concerning insurance companies and rates. This is a good way to get a feeling for the range of prices and the lowest-cost providers in your area.
  2. Check several sources for the best deal. Try getting quotes from an insurance focused website, but be aware that many online services may provide prices for just a few companies. An independent insurance agent that works with several insurers in your local area might be able to get you a better deal.
  3. Make sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims in case the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
  4. Check the financial stability and soundness of the insurance company. Ratings from A.M. BestStandard and Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Services are available online and at most public libraries.
  5. Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which has a database of complaints filed with state regulators.
  6. Find out what others think about the company’s customer service. Consumers can rate homeowner insurance companies at J.D. Power’s website.
  7. Once you pay your first insurance premium, make sure you receive a written policy. This tells you the agent forwarded your premium to the insurance company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days, contact your agent and the insurance company.

If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s hotline at 1-800-835-6422. Or for more information, check out the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud website

Some Fun Facts About Money

  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 26 million notes a day, with a face value of approximately $907 million.
  • Over 90 percent of U.S. currency is Federal Reserve notes.
  • A stack of currency one-mile high would contain more than 14.5 million notes.
  • Currency is actually fabric composed of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton.  Currency paper has tiny red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths evenly distributed through out the paper.
  • The $2 bill first originated on June 25, 1776, when the Continental Congress authorized issuance of the $2 denominations in “bills of credit for the defense of America.”
  • The first dollar coin was issued in 1782.
  • The dollar was officially adopted as our nation’s unit of currency in 1785.
  • The largest bill ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was the $100,000 gold certificate.
  • The U.S. Secret Service was created during the Civil War to fight counterfeiting.
  • The motto “In God We Trust” did not appear on paper currency until 1963.
  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has two facilities, one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Fort Worth, Texas.  Together they use approximately 9.7 tons of ink per day.
  • The approximate weight of a bill is one gram.  Since there are 454 grams in one pound, there are 454 notes in one pound.
  • The largest note produced today is the $100 bill.
  • It costs approximately 6.4 cents per note to produce U.S. currency.
  • About 45 percent of the notes printed each year are $1, and 95 percent are used as replacement notes.
  • About 4,000 double folds (forward and backward) are required before a note will tear.
  • The average life of a Federal Reserve note depends upon its denomination:
    $1 bill – 21 months
    $5 bill – 16 months
    $10 bill – 18 months
    $20 bill – 2 years
    $50 bill – 4.5 years
    $100 bill – 7.5 years