Specialty Insurance - Is It Worth Having?

By: Ranju_kumar
Insurance marketers become inspired geniuses when it comes to thinking up policies to pitch to consumers. Here is the lowdown on some newer types - and if they are worthwhile...

POLICIES WORTH HAVING

1. Trip insurance: Many people don't understand that their health insurance may not cover them if they become ill when traveling overseas. Trip insurance reimburses you for emergency medical expenses and a medical evacuation. It also covers cancellation or interruption of a trip due to your illness or bad weather, such as a hurricane or tornado, as well as luggage that is lost or damaged in transit.

Coverage typically runs between $100 and $200 per trip, depending on the destination and the traveler's age.

2. Pet health insurance: This insurance is becoming cost-effective as more advanced and expensive treatments are made available for pets. A pacemaker for a dog could cost several thousand dollars.

Ask your veterinarian about the best policies. You can get the coverage for dogs, cats and other critters. Premiums can run $200 to $1,000, depending on the pet's age, breed and where you live.

3. Credit card surveillance: Although it isn't really insurance; credit card monitoring protection through your bank card issuer ensures that you are notified of any change in your credit profile - unusual spending, card applications or changes of address.

Cost: $30 to $75 a year.

New trend: Identity theft insurance. A credit card company will protect you against phony charges - you are liable for only up to $50. But they won't help you fix the mess that identity theft often creates. Identity theft insurance reimburses you for expenses such as lost pay while you are straightening things out.

According to industry research, the average ID theft victim spends hundreds of hours restoring his/her financial reputation. If you have credit card surveillance, you probably don't need personal identity theft coverage unless you have many cardholders in your household or business. Annual coverage costs vary. Check with your credit card issuer or insurance company. A growing number of employers also are offering identity theft insurance as a perk.

POLICIES TO AVOID

1. Terrorism insurance: This insurance started to appear after 9/11 to play into Americans' fears of a terrorist attack. Insurance that focuses strictly on terrorism is geared toward businesses and covers such costs as relocating a firm or replacing damaged equipment. Even then, business-interruption insurance is a better option - it also covers fires, floods, etc.

2. Water line protection: Very few people need this niche coverage, which pays for damage caused by leaks in the water service line that runs from the curb valve into the home in towns that have public water. The coverage is worth considering only if your neighbors have experienced problems due to age of the pipes or geological issues.

Also: Check for duplicate coverage.

Example: One of my friends had to have his house jacked up to replace the water pipes below it, but he didn't need water line insurance because the $11,000 cost was partially covered by his homeowner's insurance.

3. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance: This insurance pays out if you are killed accidentally. Don't waste your money on it. Regular life insurance covers you when you die.

4. Disease-specific coverage, such as cancer insurance, also should be avoided.
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