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Post-Sandy, homeowners will get insurance coverage summaries

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Homeowners will receive a one-page summary of their homeowner's insurance policy from their insurer, under legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie this week. After Hurricane Sandy, insurance experts said many homeowners were stunned to learn their policy excludes damage from flooding, which requires a separate policy.

"Given the extreme weather we have seen in recent years, it is more crucial than ever for policyholders to understand what's in their coverage," said Eric Stenson, spokesman for New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., which he said has been in forefront of consumer education. "There is no substitute for reading the full policy to really understand its contents."

It would help to extend the law to business property insurance policies as well as homeowner's, said attorney Donald W. Kiel, of K&L Gates: "While there certainly are many sophisticated businesses that have professional risk managers, many smaller businesses don't have this capability."

A single-page summary "cannot be anywhere near detailed enough to explain all of it, but if it helps (homeowners) understand the policy, it's great," said insurance agent Glenn Tippy, president of Gerrity, Baker, Williams Inc., in the Flanders section of Mount Olive.

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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