Dumping some insurance coverage has been in vogue in recent months as Americans have tightened their belts, but letting your new bare bones policies carry on indefinitely might leave you at risk. Instead, heed the experts’ advice on the coverage that is really worth it and what you might be able to nix. Amy Danise, senior managing editor of Insure.com, an information resource on auto, health, home and life insurance, offers the following tips.

Dumping some insurance coverage has been in vogue in recent months as Americans have tightened their belts, but letting your new bare bones policies carry on indefinitely might leave you at risk. Instead, heed the experts’ advice on the coverage that is really worth it and what you might be able to nix. Amy Danise, senior managing editor of Insure.com, an information resource on auto, health, home and life insurance, offers the following tips.

Auto
At minimum, drivers need liability coverage. This is what covers damage to others, often the source of lawsuits. While there is a minimum required by law, often it is not enough. Danise recommends at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. When it comes to comprehensive and collision, the need for this on older cars is questionable. “It depends on your vehicle, but once the car hits 5 years old, I would start looking at how much am I paying versus how much I would get back in the event the car is totaled,” she says. Nadaguides.com is a good place to find your car’s worth. You may also want to consider ditching perks like towing, roadside assistance and rental car coverage.

Life
Life insurance is a must for anyone with dependents who rely on your income. At minimum, Danise advises term life insurance to cover your income and mortgage payment for a certain amount of time Online calculators are great tools to help determine a sufficient safety net for your family, but don’t be scared off by the final number. Instead, buy something now and add supplemental policies later. Group life insurance through work serves as a nice supplement but remember, it is only as permanent as your job. Skip life insurance on children, as they do not have debt or income to replace, as well as policies whose cash value is tied to investments.

Home
Insure only for the local construction cost of replacing your home and not its market value, which is a common mistake. Agents can help you determine this figure. Don’t skimp on that number or the percentage of the home value that is reserved for liability claims. Individual line items that detail the maximum claim for certain losses are built in to the policy, so there isn’t room to cut back there. However, you could eliminate any riders you’ve added to cover certain expensive pieces.

Health
While most are insured through their employers, those who must get health insurance on their own could limit coverage to major medical or catastrophic coverage, which will pay for hospitalizations and surgery but exclude routine exams. Still, raising your deductible or the percentage of your share is a safer way to skimp considering the high number of people in medical bankruptcy.

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Money-saving tips

Brad Cooper, senior vice president of operations for InsWeb.com, an online insurance comparison provider, says, “There is no such thing as the lowest-price auto insurance” because of stiff competition in the market.

Amy Danise of Insure.com agrees, saying annual auto insurance premiums can differ by hundreds of dollars. Premiums vary greatly in life insurance as well, she says, because of the range of possible premiums for the same person.

Cooper advises first looking to deductibles before dropping any coverage, and raise them as high as you are comfortable with.

Keep in mind, experts say, that in most states, your credit history can affect your rates, so if you’ve improved your credit, that’s a good time to shop around.