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Read 'em and weep: Costly insurance problems that confront consumers nationwide

Whether you live in a rural area or the heart of New York City, sooner or later you're going to have an insurance problem. Probably you or your neighbors are already grappling with an important insurance issue.

If you live in New Jersey, you're plagued by the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation. In Florida, you may be having a tough time getting windstorm insurance. And if you're sick and uninsured in California, there's a waiting list of 18 months before you can enroll in your state's high-risk health insurance pool.

Insurance woes vary from state to state

While many states have common insurance problems, such as rising insurance premiums, insurance woes vary from one state to another. Here are some of the biggest insurance problems in the country:

  • Indiana: Bogus health insurers are taking consumers' hard-earned money and then vanishing, saddling them with unpaid claims. See Unlicensed health insurers plague Indiana.
  • New York: Rampant auto insurance fraud is driving up consumers' costs. According to the Insurance Research Council, one out of every four New York City PIP claims involve some kind of fraud. Read Auto insurance fraud strangles New York.
  • Ohio: National class action lawsuits, which cost insurance companies millions of dollars, will drive up consumers' premiums, says Ohio Insurance Director Lee Covington. See Ohio consumers may face fallout from national class action lawsuits.
  • Texas: Ever since June 2001, when a jury awarded a Texas family $32 million in a highly publicized toxic mold lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, the Texas home insurance market has been in upheaval. Complaints of exorbitant home insurance rate hikes (some as high as 300 percent) are pushing Texas consumers to their financial limits. See Toxic mold invades the Texas home insurance market.

Don't wait for a problem

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See the biggest insurance problems across the country

Don't be a hostage to your insurance problem. Educating yourself about your state's particular insurance issues will help you become a more proactive consumer. An excellent place to gather such information is your state insurance department. To find the contact information for your state insurance department, select the state in which you live from the pull-down menu marked "Insurance in your state" at the top of this page.

Learn how your insurance policy works is before you need to make a claim. Although most of us don't read our policies until we have to make a claim, it's a worthwhile goal, along with a promise to ourselves to become better-educated insurance consumers.

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