Winning the Insurance Game by Ralph Nader, Wesley J. Smith

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Winning the Insurance Game

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

WINNING THE INSURANCE GAME is laid out in handbook form with numerous headings and subheadings. It is not intended to be read straight through but to be used for reference to specific questions. Many of the best suggestions are offered in boxes captioned “Consumer Alert,” which are liberally sprinkled throughout. The book is restricted mainly to questions the individual consumer might have about auto, residential, health, disability, and life insurance and does not attempt to deal with such matters as professional malpractice, floater policies, marine insurance, or all the complex risk exposures of business firms.

Since Americans spend $407 billion a year on insurance (three times the national budget deficit and 12 percent of total U.S. disposable income), the authors think there is room for considerable fat-trimming. They strongly recommend comparison shopping. With regard to automobile insurance, they show that the difference in price on identical coverage on the same car can be as great as $819 a year. In characteristic Nader fashion, the book discusses what consumers can do at the community and national levels to fight the insurance companies. More government regulation of the industry is recommended. The authors suggest the possibility of state-operated auto insurance to be paid for by an add-on charge which drivers would pay at the pump for gasoline.

An unavoidable problem with a book of this type is that all fifty states have different insurance laws. The authors have no alternative but to hedge some of their advice with phrases such as “In most states...” and to refer the reader to specific agencies for further details. Nevertheless, WINNING THE INSURANCe GAME is a very user-friendly and informative book. It would seem nearly impossible for anyone to read it without finding at least one or two ways to save money by negotiating for lower premiums, eliminating unnecessary or overpriced options, avoiding loopholes, or negotiating more effectively with claims adjusters.