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NJ Bill Would Help Understand Homeowner Insurance Policies [POLL/AUDIO]

The reality that homeowner insurance policies are very hard to understand has become glaringly obvious in post-Sandy New Jersey.

Mario Tama, Getty Images

At his 100th Town Hall last week, Governor Chris Christie was peppered by audience member questions that were almost exclusively about their troubles in dealing with their insurance companies. State lawmakers have taken notice.

Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Ruben Ramos, Gary Schaer, Linda Stender and Paul Moriarty to help homeowners better understand their insurance policies has been approved by an Assembly panel.

One Page Summary Proposed

The bill requires that the homeowner insurance consumer information brochure already required under state law contain a one-page summary of the policy.

Ramos explains, “This summary must include notable coverage and exclusions under the policy, so that there will be no misunderstandings when consumers need to invoke their policies.. Following Sandy, many homeowners were shocked to learn some things they expected to be covered were not under their policy. It’s time for insurance companies to provide a clearer explanation.”

“One of the most important things we’ve learned from that hearing is that many consumers aren’t familiar with the specifics of their policy, particularly when it comes to storm-related coverage,” says Schaer. “Moving forward, everyone should take the time to educate themselves on the details of their policy to make sure that they have chosen the appropriate coverage to handle their unique needs.”

On December 6, the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee chaired by Schaer held a hearing to review insurance issues facing residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

One issue that arose was the many homeowners are simply not aware of what their homeowner’s insurance policy covers.

This new bill is an attempt to provide that information in a simple, easy to understand format that will hopefully allow homeowners to become more aware of their policy.

Stender says, “Sandy has shown us that many did not fully understand their policy, often through no fault of their own. Insurance companies need to provide clearer and better explanations of their policies, and this is a pro-consumer step in that direction.”

“This is a pro-consumer bill that will surely help resolve a lot of confusion and help homeowners make better choices when it comes to insurance,” adds Moriarty.

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NEXT STORY: Sandy Challenges Definition of a Basement

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