December 30, 2003                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

New Year’s Resolution: Have the Right Insurance, Pay Less

      (HELENA) - Montana consumers pay more in insurance than they do in taxes. “Insurance is a major investment and just like any other investment, I urge you to take a look at where your money is going,” said Morrison. “The new year is a good time to make sure your policies are working for you.”
       You should review your insurance policies carefully. Here are a few things you can do to lower your premiums:
      
      · Increase Deductible - If you can afford to pay $500 rather than $250 if you get into an accident, your premium will go down.
      · Review Coverage Limits - You may be carrying too much insurance.
      · Consider Dropping Comprehensive/Collision Coverage - If you are driving an old vehicle, it may not be worth it to have comprehensive and collision coverage.
      
      Most insurance companies that sell homeowners and auto insurance use your credit history in part to determine the amount of premium you will pay.
      Insurance companies typically create a "credit score" based on information obtained from your credit report. “Now more than ever it is important that consumers check their credit report,” said Morrison. “If your credit history is going to affect your premiums you have the right to know.”
       Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with your credit:
      
      · Check Accuracy - Make sure all of the information in the report is accurate.
      · Close Accounts - Close the credit card accounts you no longer use.
      · Use Credit Wisely.
      
      You can find out what your credit history is by calling these credit-reporting agencies: Equifax 800-525-6285, Experian 888-397-3742 or TransUnion 800-680-7289.
      
      If you have any questions, please call the State Auditor's Office at 800-332-6148 or 444-2040 in Helena.