5 Insurance Myths Busted

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Misinformation and myths plague the insurance industry. Many times consumers aren't sure how much insurance to purchase or if they have purchased the right kind to begin with. If you're one of the thousands of Americans that don't understand insurance and what it offers read this list of the top 5 insurance myths and the facts behind them.

1. Auto insurance covers personal property left inside your car.

Nope. You'll need renters insurance to cover the stuff in your car. "Renters insurance will cover any of your items, anywhere in the world," says Etti Baranoff, associate professor of insurance and finance at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

2. My landlord's apartment building insurance covers my belongings.

As a renter, you're responsible for covering your items; your landlord isn't. That's why you need renters insurance. One of the first things to do after you get a policy is to either buy or borrow a digital camera to photograph everything you own. Store the photos on a portable drive that you can keep in a safe place. These photos will make it easier for you to remember what you own and report what you lost. To further help you document your belongings, the USAA Educational Foundation offers an inventory worksheet.

3. You're covered by your auto insurance when you rent a car.

You're probably covered. Most auto insurance policies -- and even the credit card you use to pay for the rental -- protect against theft and damages to a rental car. But there's also a loss-of-use fee that usually isn't covered. "This fee covers lost income to the rental car company when the car is out of service for repairs," says Carolyn Gorman, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute. "It can add hundreds of dollars in costs if the damaged car is out of service for a long time." Be sure to check your coverage with your insurance and credit card companies before you rent.

4. You're young and healthy and have no assets. You don't need life insurance.Here are a couple of reasons it's the right time.

  • Since you're younger, you may lock in a lower premium rate. As you age, the rates get more expensive.
  • As you get older, there's a chance you could develop health problems, which will make it hard for you to get life insurance.
  • If you have credit card debt or college loans, the policy can help pay them off if you die unexpectedly.
  • The final expenses, such as a funeral or hospital bills, won't fall to your parents to pay.

5. Red cars are more expensive to insure.

The color doesn't matter. Things that do affect the price are the cost of the car, your driving record, and where you live.

USAA, a diversified financial services company, is the leading provider of competitively priced financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their families. Named by BusinessWeek as 2007's Customer Service Champion and ranked highest among financial services companies for customer advocacy in a Forrester Research survey, USAA provides convenient and accessible financial products to its more than 6 million members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.

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