Va. Bureau Encourages Residents to ‘Get Smart’ About Coverage

January 13, 2004

There’s reportedly no time like the present to “get smart” about your insurance coverage whether it’s for home, health, life, auto or business.

Many Virginians learned that lesson during the past year after the Commonwealth was hit by a slew of natural disasters including Hurricane Isabel, ice storms, tornadoes and even an earthquake. Some of these events caused extensive damage and generated a flurry of questions and complaints regarding insurance.

With the arrival of the new year, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance is urging Virginians to resolve to double-check their insurance policies and make sure they have the coverage they need. Although most Americans (72 percent) feel they have about the right amount of insurance coverage, only 33 percent say they understand the details of that coverage “very well,” according to a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

“Lack of understanding about your insurance coverage can be costly,” said SCC Insurance Commissioner Alfred Gross. The Bureau of Insurance and the NAIC want consumers to know that knowledge is your best policy when it comes to insurance. That’s why they are taking part in a nationwide effort to encourage consumers to get smart about their insurance coverage during the third annual Get Smart About Insurance Week, Jan. 19-23, 2004.

The Bureau urges Virginians to call the Get Smart Hotline toll-free at 1-866-SMARTWEEK or visit to request a free brochure and get information about what they need and should expect from insurance coverage. Virginians may also contact the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at (804) 371-9741, or visit its Web site at

“Get Smart About Insurance Week is not about selling or buying insurance policies. It’s about educating consumers and making sure they have the insurance coverage they need,” Gross said. He encourages Virginians to schedule a yearly checkup with their insurance agents and to contact the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance to learn more about what to expect from insurance policies and providers.

“Many Americans may have a false sense of security when it comes to their insurance coverage,” Gross commented. “Although most Americans find peace of mind in having insurance, a better understanding will put them in the driver’s seat and help them to better protect their financial future.”

The NAIC survey revealed that the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) are the least likely to understand the details of their insurance coverage (20 percent). According to the survey, 15 percent of consumers recognize that they have too little insurance coverage, while nine percent admit they are not sure how much coverage they need.

“Virginians can take steps to become savvy insurance consumers, and the time to start is now,” Gross said. “Know what kind of coverage you need, and then shop around for the best policy. Consumers should watch out for their own best interests.

“You may not have the coverage you need. You may have more than you need. You may feel you’ve been treated unfairly when shopping for insurance or filing a claim. Or, you may just want help understanding more about different kinds of insurance coverage. Whatever your situation, the Bureau of Insurance is here to help,” he added.

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