Katrina reminds us to review insurance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Katrina reminds us to review insurance

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Lee County- It could be more than a year and half before we know the true cost of damage done by Katrina. It'll take that long for insurance adjusters to finish their job since so many homes and businesses damaged. So when millions of claims are filed at once, can the insurance companies handle it or will customers across the country pay the cost with higher premiums?

Many Louisiana and Mississippi homeowners are now filing insurance claims, banking on the coverage to rebuild. So can major insurance carriers, such as State Farm and Allstate, handle billions of dollars in claims at once? They say yes, since they have reserves to use in case of a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina. However, a State Farm official says premiums may go up in a year or two because the cost of repairing homes also goes up. Lumber is more expensive, gas prices record high and labor costs will be too. But it could be years before that happens, if at all.

Lee County State Farm Agent Jan Cooper says a disaster like this should serve as a reminder to review your insurance policies. "Every couple years people need to come to their agent and have a good through review of the policies they have."

He says home values have increased in this area and so should your coverage. He also says customers often don't have enough insurance to cover the valuables inside their homes.

"As we go along, we pick up newer and nicer times to furnish our homes with so we need to review that - also jewelry collectibles and those type of things. You maybe just assume you're properly covered, but you need to be sure," said Cooper.

Don't forget flood insurance is sold separately from home owner's insurance. "People don't think they're in a flood zone. If your county has been mapped by FEMA as a flood zone, which Dougherty and Lee have, then you're in a flood zone. The question is, is it a good or bad flood zone in regards to risk."

Katrina proved mother nature is fierce and costly, so learn a lesson from this disaster and make sure your insurance coverage can weather any storm.

Georgia's Insurance Commissioner must approve any increase in insurance premiums.