Louisiana Department of Insurance Office of Consumer Advocay
Volume 1, Issue 8
NOVEMBER 2010

Entergy's Low Income Regional Housing Panel
11/3/2010
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
West Baton Rouge Tourism Center
Port Allen, LA

AEI Small Business Conference
11/4/2010
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Lindy Boggs-UNO Conference Center
New Orleans, LA

6th Annual BeeFit Community Health Fair 2010
11/5/2010
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Bogalusa Y.W.C.A.
Bogalusa, LA

Neighborhood Development Foundation Homebuyers Training Classes
11/18/2010
7:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Neighborhood Development Foundation
New Orleans, LA

For speaking engagements scheduled after the release of the newsletter or for more detailed information about engagements listed in the newsletter, visit our website at www.ldi.la.gov. Click on the events tab, found in the center of the home page.

To view previous newsletters, click on Consumer Advocacy under Consumers.

To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to
consumeradvocacy@ld.la.gov

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter please send an email to the following address with "REMOVE" in the subject line.
consumeradvocacy@ld.la.gov

Property Floaters

Homeowners policies are designed to cover your dwelling and to provide contents coverage which protect your personal property from the various perils outlined in the policy.  It is important to understand that although coverage is offered for personal property, there are limits on some items if they are not individually scheduled or listed in the policy.  Personal property floaters can be purchased to expand the personal property coverage offered by your homeowners policy.  Floaters can be purchased as individual policies or can be added to your existing policy as an endorsement or rider. 

There are three specific floaters that offer the following types of expanded personal property coverage:

  • Open perils or all risks coverage (personal property floaters) – expands coverage to offer protection from all types of losses that are not specifically excluded in your policy.  Examples: war, wear and tear, mechanical breakdown, and nuclear disaster. 
  • Worldwide coverage for your personal property (personal effects floaters) – expands coverage to offer protection for your personal property wherever it is, regardless of location.
  • Higher coverage limits for particular categories of personal property (personal articles floaters) – expands coverage to offer increased coverage limits for jewelry, furs, cameras, musical instruments, silverware, golf equipment, fine arts, stamps and coins.

Review your policy to ensure that expensive jewelry, antiques, family heirlooms and rare paintings are properly covered on your homeowners policy.

Pet Insurance

You never know when your pets might get sick or injured, and veterinarian care can be costly. Even routine veterinarian care can be expensive. Whether your pet needs medical treatment for an ear infection, an accident or an illness, most pet insurance policies cover accidents and illnesses, including hospitalization and prescriptions. This coverage can also include bi-annual checkups, vaccinations and other common routine care. A pet health insurance policy allows you to focus on what’s best for the health of your pet with fewer concerns about costs.

Unlike some human health insurance plans, pet insurance does not limit you to a list of providers. With most pet insurance plans, you can use ANY licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada. The difference between pet health insurance and human health insurance is that with human health insurance, your doctor invoices your insurance company and you may never even see the bill. However, with pet insurance, you have to pay your veterinary bill first, and then submit your claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. This is because pet insurance is considered a form of property insurance.

Pet health insurance is typically less expensive than human health insurance. Pet insurance can be very affordable. Your premium will depend on factors like the level of coverage you choose and the breed and age of your pet. That doesn't seem like much when you consider that veterinary bills can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Pet health insurance is a smart way to help provide high-quality care, no matter how many pets you have. Not only does it help you cover the unexpected, it helps make budgeting for routine care easier and more consistent throughout the year. Some treatments can cost more than most people have available in their savings, or might deplete their savings. Pet health insurance is a way to help make sure that if the worst happens, you’re better equipped to provide high-quality care.

History of Pet Insurance
1924 -First pet insurance policy is written for a dog in Sweden.
1947 - First policy is sold in Britain, and pet insurance takes off rapidly. Today, the UK has the most mature pet insurance market in the world with over 18% of pets insured.
1982 - First pet insurance policy is sold in the US to cover TV's heroic dog Lassie.
2001-2009 - Pet insurance continues to gain popularity in the US as veterinary costs rise and more pet owners learn about its benefits.
Today - Trends indicate that more American pet owners are insuring their pets as they realize how it can help them pay their veterinary bills.

6 Things to Ask Before Buying Pet Insurance:

  • How can I trust that your company will be there when I need it?
  • Can I keep seeing my current veterinarian?
  • Does your company have coverage that I can easily understand and afford?
  • How does your company determine claim reimbursements?
  • How does your company determine premiums?
  • Does your plan provide coverage for wellness care?

Remember, all pet insurance is not the same. Some insurance plans may cover accidents, but not illnesses. Some plans may cover treatment for cancer, while others don't. If you are considering pet insurance, do your research and shop around. Pet health insurance can help you pay for the increasing costs of veterinary care. Every year, veterinary medicine takes another step forward, and more options become available to help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Travel Insurance

There are two major types of travel insurance: trip cancellation and interruption or flight insurance.  Travel insurance is designed to help alleviate some of the financial loss that may be incurred because your trip is interrupted, delayed or cancelled by unforeseen events.

Travel insurance covers some of the following unforeseeable events: sudden illness or death,  a catastrophic loss due to fire or natural disaster, lost luggage, lost passport,  injury or death of an immediate family member, jury duty, emergency military duty, or bankruptcy of an airline or cruise line prior to departure.  The insurance will cover you only for the perils or events that are listed in the policy.  Make sure to ask for a sample contract and review the covered perils before purchasing.  If an event is not listed or is excluded, it’s not covered. All policies make it very clear that they will not reimburse any loss just because you changed your mind about the trip. Travel insurance will not cover expenses where refunds are available.  Read your policy very carefully to ensure that you understand the policy provisions and exclusions.

Also, when deciding whether or not to purchase travel insurance, consider the time of year and where you are traveling. If your trip will take place during hurricane season (June to November), you need to pay special attention to coverage relating to evacuation.  When traveling overseas, consider what coverage will be available in the event of a natural disaster at home or abroad.   Some insurance plans will reimburse you only if the destination intended is rendered totally uninhabitable, if your air carrier is grounded for a full 24 hours, or if your cruise is completely canceled.

Buy travel insurance when you book your trip and make sure you are not double insuring your trip. In some instances, if you use your credit card, your credit card company may already provide coverage as a perk of using your credit card to purchase the tickets. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance premiums are typically based on the cost of your trip, your age and the amount of coverage you want. It is important that when deciding on travel insurance that you do not sacrifice coverage for price.

EDITOR’S LETTER

Protecting Your Most Personal Possessions

Mortgage companies, lien holders and state laws require us to purchase property and automobile insurance.  The need to protect our minds and bodies cause us to purchase health insurance. Estate planning and protection of our loved ones encourages us to purchase life insurance.  But what do we do about protecting and insuring our other personal possessions?

I hope this newsletter made you think about all of the things you hold dear and then realize that insurance is available for protecting those things.  This newsletter edition explained property floaters, pet insurance, and trip insurance; however, almost everything you own or can be held responsible for can be insured.  Cost of insuring is always a factor, but the protection is almost always worth the premium investment.

Take inventory of all that is important to you and sit down with your insurance professional to review your options.  A new year is right around the corner, so add being “properly insured” as one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Deputy Commissioner
Clarissa A. Preston, CIC, APIR

Office of Consumer Advocacy P.O. Box 94214 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214
(225) 219-0619 or (800)259-5300 www.ldi.la.gov consumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov