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13 smart insurance moves for 2009

11. Verify that you're fully covered for all aspects of a natural disaster. It is especially important if you live in an area that is subject to certain natural disasters (fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding), that you "make sure you have plenty of coverage and that it's up to date," Hoyt says.

There are two important questions that you need to ask yourself: Do you have the right type of replacement coverage at the right dollar amount and do you have the right coverage for various kinds of disasters.

And that may mean adding a separate policy for flood insurance, for example. Many homeowners in Florida and Louisiana discovered that their home insurance would protect them from some aspects of hurricane damage, such as wind, but not others like flooding.

12. Revisit your life insurance. You might be able to save money on the same coverage by reshopping your life insurance policy, says Wayne Bogosian, co-author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to 401(k) Plans."

"That term-life insurance policy you bought three years ago is probably cheaper today," he says. "That might add $25 a month to your pocket, maybe more, depending on the face value."

Also, in today's market, you can often get more life insurance for less money with your own independent policy. And if you lose the job, you don't lose the coverage, says Evans.

And re-examine the amount of coverage. "You should have enough in good times and bad," says Greg Daugherty, executive editor of  Consumer Reports. "I'd cut back in many places before I'd cut back on that."

13. Do you want to diversify your life insurance? Much the same way you want to keep bank deposits below the FDIC-insurance level, you can use a similar strategy to protect your life insurance policies, Hoyt says.

Find out at what level of coverage your state insurance department backs life insurance since it varies by state. Then keep policies below that amount, and simply buy several policies from different carriers to give you the desired amount of coverage, he says.

One caveat is that you should keep all the policies in the same place and keep the beneficiaries the same. And make sure everyone in your family knows how many policies there are, where they're kept and what the total insurance value should be, and don't forget to keep up with the premiums.

Still, Hungelmann recommends another strategy. He advises buying one large, term policy and ensuring the company is in good shape financially.

"There's a price discount, and I think it's better to go with a really strong company," he says.


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