Suze Orman, Financial Guru
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Insurance

National Council on Aging
409 3rd Street, SW Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 479-1200
www.ncoa.org 

Health Insurance Association of America
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20004-2599
Hotline: (800) 942-4242
www.hiaa.org 

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
120 West 12th St. Kansas City, MO 64105
(816) 842-3600
www.naic.org 

The State Health Insurance Advisory Program (SHIP)
This is a government program that provides information on Medicare to the elderly and disabled. Each state has its own hot-line. You can call (800) 677-1116 to find out which organization you should call in your state for this service. 


The National Committee for Quality Assurance (HMOs and other MCOs)
2000 L St., NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20036
(800) 839-6487
www.ncqa.org 

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terr., IL 60181 
(630) 792-5000 
www.jcaho.org 

Community Health Accreditation Program (home health care and nursing homes)
350 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
(800) 669-1656, extension 242
http://hiicap.state.ny.us
Primarily for residents of New York, but with some national information and links to other state information. The state's Office of Aging runs something called the HIICA Program (Health Insurance Information Counseling Assistance) which provides New York residents with free confidential unbiased information about insurance. The program has an excellent website with Medigap information. 

Smart Money Insurance
www.smartmoney.com/insurance 

Kiplinger Insurance
www.kiplinger.com/managing/insurance

Insurance News Network
www.insure.com 

Independent Insurance Network
www.iiaa.com

This tool will help you find the health insurance best suited to your needs, whether it's private insurance for individuals, families, and small businesses, or public programs that may work for you. It was created to help consumers under the health insurance reform law, the Affordable Care Act. 

http://finder.healthcare.gov

This time last year we were aching over the devastation in Florida. Today our prayers go out to the citizens of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf region suffering through the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 

If you are in a position to lend some support, please contact the Red Cross

And I also want you to take a few minutes to make sure your home is properly insured; whether it be a natural disaster, a fire, or theft, you know my mantra: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

The "worst" when it comes to your home is a total loss that requires your home to be completely rebuilt. And I have news for you: many of you don't have enough coverage to pay for a complete rebuild. That's because the standard policy typically insures up to the value of your home. But you need coverage that pays for 100 percent of the rebuilding cost; the way construction costs have been rising, there's a good chance the rebuild exceeds your current coverage limit. 

The key coverage you need is called Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage. This insures you will be paid for the reconstruction cost of your home, regardless of the limit of insurance on your policy. Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage is no longer available in many states, however. It has been replaced by Extended Replacement Cost Coverage. Unlike Guaranteed Replacement Cost, the Extended Replacement Cost Coverage places a cap on how high the replacement costs can go. Several policies limit the coverage to 120% of the policy limit, but many insurers sell policies with a 150% or 200% cap, so look for a policy with the highest cap if Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage isn’t offered in your state. If your home was completely destroyed and you have a $300,000 limit on your policy, the Extended Replacement Cost coverage provision of 120% would pay up to $360,000 to cover your rebuilding costs. But an Extended Replacement Cost coverage provision of 200% would pay up to $600,000.  

I also want you to bug your agent to make sure your policy includes an automatic inflation adjustment. This protection adjusts your premium to increase your coverage in line with rising construction costs in your area. 

If you have an older home, talk to your insurance agent about Building Code upgrade coverage; if you were ever to repair or rebuild your home the work would need to meet current standards, and that can be expensive. With this addition to your policy you will have some coverage for those additional costs.  

And carefully read your policy so you understand your potential out-of-pocket-costs. Many policies impose a special "hurricane" deductible that can be anywhere from 2 percent to 5 percent of the home's value. If you have a $300,000 home you're looking at needing to pony up $6,000 to $15,000 out of your own pocket before your policy coverage kicks into action. That's an argument for making sure you have a solid emergency cash fund. 

Of course, if you live in an area that could ever be hit with a flood, for goodness sake don't play around: get flood insurance. Talk to your agent about the national Flood Insurance Program

As for the contents of your home: Make sure your policy comes with replacement cost coverage. If you have "actual value" coverage that means you'll only get paid the depreciated value for your property losses. You also should keep a complete inventory of your possessions, along with photos that show the possession in your home; that's the sort of documentation that can make filing your claim go more smoothly. And send a copy of your inventory and photos to friends and family who don't live nearby. In fact, send along copies of your insurance policies and key contact numbers. In a natural disaster such as a hurricane you want to have a back up plan for getting to key info.  

My hope is that you will never need to file a claim for a major loss. But as Hurricane Katrina taught us (again), it's always wise to protect you and your family for one of the most devastating "what ifs" imaginable.

A.M. Best
(908) 439-2200
www.ambest.com

Duff & Phelps
(312) 263-2610
www.fitchratings.com

Moody's
(212) 553-0377
www.moodys.com

Standard & Poor's
(212) 438-2000
www.standardandpoors.com 

Weiss
(800) 289-8100 *except Florida
(561) 627-3300
www.weissratings.com
There are modest fees for quotes with this service.

Select Quote
(800) 343-1985
www.selectquote.com

InsuranceQuoteService
(800) 972-1104 
www.iquote.com

Term-Quote
(800) 444-8376 
www.termquote.com

Master Quote
(800) 337-5433
www.masterquote.com

LifeRates of America
(800) 457-2837

Quotesmith
(800) 556-9393
www.quotesmith.com

InsWeb
(800) 871-5075
www.insweb.com

AccuQuote
(800) 442-9899
www.accuquote.com

DirectQuote
(800) 845-3853
www.directquote.com

CNA 
(800) 775-1541
www.cna.com 

Northwestern Mutual Life
(414) 271-1444 
www.northwesternmutual.com 

UNUMProvident 
(800) 227-8138
www.unumprovident.com 

LeadingAge
(202) 783-2242
www.leadingage.org

LeadingAge is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.
 

American Bar Assn. Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly
(202) 662-8690
www.abanet.org/elderly

Offers The ABA Legal Guide for Older Americans, which includes sections on assisted living. 
 

Assisted Living Federation of America
(703) 691-8100
www.alfa.org

Offers a free pamphlet, Assisted Living Guide & Checklist, and a listing of member facilities by state; also publishes industry magazine, Assisted Living Today. 
 

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
(520) 881-4005
www.naela.org
 

Smart Money Elder Care
www.smartmoney.com/eldercare

Medicare 
(800) 633-4227 For information on Medicare in English and Spanish
(877) 486-2048 People who require TDD or TTY can call.
www.medicare.gov

MEDLINPLus Health information for the national library of Meidcare
www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

Insurance companies, agents, and policies are primarily regulated by state, not federal, laws. Each state has a department of insurance that is responsible for such regulation. Be sure to consult the department in your state and an expert in the laws of your state when you are making decisions about your own insurance needs. (800 NUMBERS ARE ONLY VALID IN-STATE) 

Alabama
(334) 269-3550
www.aldoi.org

Alaska
(907) 465-2515 
www.dced.state.ak.us/insurance

Arizonia 
(800) 325-2548 
(602) 912-8444
(502) 628-8371 
www.state.az.us./id 

Arkansas 
(800) 282-9134
(501) 371-2600
www.state.ar.us/insurance

California
(800) 927-4357
(213) 897-8921
www.insurance.ca.gov/docs/index.html

Colorado
(800) 930-3745
(303) 894-7499
www.dora.state.co.us/insurance

Connecticut
(800) 203-3447
(860) 297-3800
www.state.ct.us/cid

Delaware 
(800) 282-8611
(302) 739-4251
www.state.de.us/inscom

District of Columbia 
(202) 727-8000, ext. 3041 
www.ci.washington.dc.us/agency list 28.html

Florida 
(800) 342-2762 
(850) 413-3100 
www.dos.state.fl.us

Georgia 
(800) 656-2298 
(404) 656-2056 
www.inscomm.state.ga.us 

Hawaii 
(808)586-2790 
www.state.hi.us/dcca/ins

Idaho 
(800) 721-3272 
(208) 334-4350 
www.doi.state.id.us

Illinois 
(217) 782-0004 
www.state.il.us/ins

Indiana 
(800) 622-4461 
(317) 232-2385 
www.state.in.us/idoi

Iowa 
(877) 955-1212 
(515) 281-5705 
(515) 242-5190 
www.iid.state.ia.us

Kansas 
(800) 432-2484 
(785) 296-7829 
www.ink.org/public/kid

Kentucky 
(800) 595-6053 
(502) 564-6034 
www.doi.state.ky.us

Louisiana 
(800) 259-5300 
(225) 342-0895 
www.ldi.state.la.us

Maine 
(800) 300-5000 
(207) 624-8475 
www.state.me.us/pfr/ins/inshome2.htm 

Maryland 
(800) 492-6116 
(410) 468-2000 
www.mdinsurance.state.md.us

Massachusetts 
(888) 283-2575 
(617) 727-7780 
www.state.ma.us/consumer/info/insur.htm 

Michigan 
(517) 373-0220 
(877) 999-6442 
www.cis.state.mi.us/ofis

Minnesota 
(651) 297-7161 
www.commerce.state.mn.us

Mississippi 
(800) 562-2957 
(601) 359-3569 
www.doi.state.ms.us

Missouri 
(573) 751-4126 
www.insurance.state.mo.us

Montana 
(800) 332-6148 
(406) 444-2040 
www.discoverymontana.com/sao

Nebraska 
(402) 471-2201 
www.nol.org/home/ndoi

Nevada 
(702) 486-4009 
(775) 687-4270 
www.doi.state.nv.us

New Hampshire 
(800) 852-3416 
(603) 271-2261 
www.state.nh.us/insurance

New Jersey 
(609) 292-5360 
www.naic.org/nj/insmnu.htm

New Mexico 
(800) 947-4722 
(505) 827-4601 
www.nmprc.state.nm.us/inshm.htm

New York 
(800) 342-3736 
(212) 480-6400 
www.ins.state.ny.us

North Carolina 
(800) 546-5664 
(919) 733-2032 
www.ncdoi.com

North Dakota 
(800) 247-0560 
(701) 328-2440 
www.state.nd.us/ndins

Ohio 
(800) 686-1526 
(614) 644-2658 
www.ins.state.oh.us 

Oklahoma 
(800) 522-0071 
(405) 521-2828 
www.oid.state.ok.us

Oregon 
(503) 947-7980 
www.cbs.state.or.us/ins


Pennsylvania
 
(877) 881-6388 
(717) 787-2317 
(814) 871-4466 
(215) 560-2630 
(412) 565-5020 
www.insurance.state.pa.us

Puerto Rico 
(809) 722-8686 

Rhode Island 
(401) 421-0172 
www.dbr.state.ri.us

South Carolina 
(800) 768-3467 
(803) 737-6150 
www.state.sc.us/doi

South Dakota 
(605) 773-3563 
www.state.sd.us./dcr/insurance

Tennessee 
(800) 342-4029 
www.state.tn.us/commerce

Texas 
(800) 252-3439 
(512) 463-6169 
www.tdi.state.tx.us

Utah 
(800) 439-3805 
(801) 538-3805 
www.insurance.state.ut.us

Vermont 
(800) 964-1784 (insurance other than health) 
(800) 631-7788 (health insurance) 
(802) 828-3301 
www.bishca.state.vt.us

Virgin Islands 
(340) 714-1988 

Virginia 
(800) 552-7945 
(804) 371-9742 
www.state.va.us/scc/division/boi 

Washington 
(800) 562-6900 
(360) 753-7300 
www.insurance/wa.gov 

West Virginia 
(800)642-9004 
(304) 558-3386 
www.statewv.us/insurance

Wisconsin 
(800) 236-8517 
(608) 266-3585 
http://badger.state.wi.us/agencies/oci/oci_home.htm

Wyoming 
(800) 438-5768 
(307) 777-7401 
www.soswy.state.wy.us/director/agency/ins.htm

Kiplinger Insurance Calculator
www.kiplinger.com/tools/index.html
 

CNN and Money Magazine Insurance Calculator
http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/

People First. Then Money. Then Things.
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