Minimum insurance coverage for 4 policy types

When not to go naked on insurance
When not to go naked on insurance © Edyta Pawlowska/

You're young, healthy, unfettered and you drive a beater. Everyone keeps harping on how you need all this insurance, but all you can see is money circling the drain.

What you want to know is: What's the bare minimum insurance I can get by with, and what's the downside if that's all I buy -- or even decide to "go bare" and not purchase auto, health, home or renters insurance altogether?

There are a few policy tweaks you can make and cost-saving discounts to be reaped. But try to get by without any insurance, and chances are slim that you'll be happy in your freewheeling lifestyle for very long.

"The problem is, if you don't have coverage, basically you're taking a risk. You're betting that you're not going to face a disaster," says Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group based in New York. "If you want to be a betting man, that's fine, but I wouldn't want to bet my house on it."

Not to mention your car, your health or all your worldly possessions.

What's a free spirit to do in this shackle-and-chain world? Let's break it down by insurance policy type.

Compare insurance rates to get the best deal.

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You're young, you're healthy and you don't want to spend much on insurance. But how little is too little? Can you go without?

The second question is easy: No, you can't afford to go without insurance, because an accident, natural disaster or serious illness could leave you facing a big financial setback and wishing that you had some coverage.

Speaking of companies stealing money from you, they also offer the best deals to newer customers. Call up your cellphone and cable provider and see if they can offer any of those savings to you.

With auto insurance, most states require you to carry a minimum of liability coverage. The Obama health insurance law mandates that you have health insurance, too, or pay a tax penalty of at least $95.

"Going bare" on home insurance or renters insurance is a huge mistake -- much too risky, particularly if you're found liable for damage or injury to someone else. You could lose your shirt -- and a whole lot more. So, take advantage of available discounts to get the best rate on a policy.



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