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Tips on Buying Insurance

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-14T20:16:16Z

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Company Symbol % Change
Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRK/A:US -0.72
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Use Buying Guides

Agents are paid by insurers to sell their products and often sell only certain companies' policies. Some insurers offering lower prices, such as Geico and USAA, sell directly to the public. Before meeting an agent, read buying guides on state insurance regulators' websites, such as California's Insurance Dept. site to learn what insurance should cost and cover. Ask agents what they make on a sale, says Karrol Kitt, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and drill down on what policies cover. Ask them to verify answers with written proof. "Sometimes agents aren't as knowledgeable as they should be," Kitt says.