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Buying insurance is the most common way that people manage risk and loss. There are many different ways to buy insurance. With so many sources of information and policies available, deciding what to purchase can be difficult, especially when it comes to comparing price and coverage.

Even if you purchase insurance, owning insurance is more than just paying the premium. It also means knowing what coverage the policy offers, should you experience a loss.

The following resources can help ensure that you have the protection you need, when you need it.

Home Insurance Claims — Provides an overview on making claims on your home insurance policy.

Listen and Learn

Give Yourself an Insurance Check-up — It's valuable to know your insurance coverage in case of disaster, both large and small! Transcript and audio (1:59)

Ways to Lower Homeowners Insurance — The price you pay for homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you choose. Transcript and audio (1:56)

Give Yourself an Insurance Check-up

Rosemary K. Heins, Extension Educator — Family Resource Management

Reviewed June 2013 by the author.

We buy insurance to manage the risk when a disaster occurs like a fire, tornado or flood. How long has it been since you’ve reviewed your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy to be familiar with what your coverage is?

The first question should be is "what type of coverage do I have?" Check for the following.

  • A homeowner’s insurance policy covers the structure, belongings and legal obligations if someone is injured at your home. A renter’s policy does not insure the structure, but otherwise provides similar coverage.
  • Check the type of replacement value provided by the policy either actual cash value or replacement value. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair damage to a home or to replace it contents after allowing for depreciation. Replacement cost is the actual amount it would take to rebuild or replace a home and its contents.
  • What are the liability limits which protect you legally if a non-resident visits, has an accident and gets hurt. With a few exceptions, such as auto or boating accidents, all-purpose liability coverage follows wherever you go. An umbrella policy can increase the liability limits if necessary.
  • A final coverage detail is medical payment coverage for injuries occurring on your property or in your rental by visiting non-residents. It may also cover medical expenses of another person injured by you, a member of your family, or a family pet while away from home.

It’s valuable to know your insurance coverage in case of disaster, both large and small! More details of an insurance check-up are available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.


Minnesota Department of Commerce (2012). Annual Insurance Checkup. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Ways to Lower Homeowners Insurance Costs

Rosemary K. Heins, Extension Educator — Family Resource Management

March 2013

The price you pay for homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. The Insurance Information Institute has a publication entitled "12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs." Let’s review a few of the suggestions.

Shop around — it’ll take some time but it could save you money. Talk to friends or your insurance agent. Check out insurers with the Minnesota Department of Commerce which regulates the industry in Minnesota, or other consumer guides. Get a feeling for the type of service you would get.

Raise your deductible. The deductible is the money you pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim. The higher the deductible, the more you can save on your insurance premium. It’s also a good idea to have the amount of the deductible, whether it’s $500 or $1,500 set aside in emergency saving in case you do have a loss.

Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs. The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, tornado, fire and other perils. Don’t include it in determining how much insurance to purchase. But it’s is a good idea to review your policy annually to make sure you have the correct coverage for your home and its’ contents.

Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer. Some companies will discount policy costs if you purchase more than one policy from their company.

The Insurance Information Institute website is at and has many helpful consumer publications. Check them out and you may get more ideas that will help you save yourself hundreds of dollars and/or make sure you have the coverage you need.

Other Recommended Resources

Meeting Your Insurance Needs — Insurance is the primary way you protect yourself against financial loss caused by illness, accidents, and other destructive or damaging events.

Health Insurance — Ensure you have the protection for your health that you need, before you need it.

Preparing for Disaster — Do you have a plan for what to do if your home floods or a tornado strikes? We can help you prepare!

Disaster Recovery — Offers families resources following a disaster. Includes the Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit.

InsuranceMinnesota Department of Commerce — The "go to" source for insurance information for Minnesotans. Information on consumer alerts, auto and leisure, home and property, medical and health, and more.

Insurance Information Institute — Organization that works to improve public understanding of insurance, including what it does and how it works. Includes resources in Spanish.

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