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by Abigail Van Buren

Homeowners Moving on May Be Leaving Money Behind

DEAR ABBY: I work for a major insurance company in the Midwest. The amount of unclaimed premium refunds we have is unbelievable. You'd be shocked at how many people sell their homes and move, and never contact their homeowner's insurance company to cancel their policy. When the mail comes back marked "undeliverable," the policy is canceled -- and nine out of 10 times, a return premium is due the insured. Of course, the refund checks are also returned since no information is available on current addresses.

Additionally, many who do cancel a policy fail to include their new address in their letter -- so any refunds are returned to the insurance company.

Abby, please spread the word that people who have sold a home in the last five years and didn't contact their insurance company to cancel their policy, should contact the company since there may be unclaimed funds. -- REFUND WATCHDOG IN MINNESOTA

DEAR WATCHDOG: Obviously, many people are unaware that the unused portion of their homeowner's insurance policy is refundable. Thank you for bringing this potential windfall to the attention of my readers.

DEAR ABBY: In the next few months, my wife and I will celebrate our 70th wedding anniversary. I have been retired for many years, so I'm qualified to offer suggestions to husbands who have retired:

Husbands, you worked for years in servitude to a boss who gave you orders. Don't feel guilty for the pleasure you get from reading his obituary. After retirement, you have a new boss -- your wife. She doesn't issue orders; she uses diplomacy. For example: "We should wash the windows." "We should clean the cellar and garage." "We should trim those high bushes."

Husbands, you will soon learn that "we" means, "Honey, you ..." I advise you not to mutter. Your wife may be hard of hearing, but you'll discover that muttering comes in loud and clear to her. Develop a hard-of-hearing act. When your wife says, "Honey, I couldn't sleep last night, so I was thinking we should ..." quickly begin your act. If you don't, you'll be sorry.

Your new boss will say she doesn't understand finances and turn the job over to you. But don't try sneaking anything into the pile of bills. She'll catch you.

Abby, please do not reveal my name or address. My wife is an avid Dear Abby reader, and I'd like to reach our 70th wedding anniversary in one piece. -- OVER 90 IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR OVER 90: You may be over 90, but your wife has you "going like 60." I'd advise her to put on the brakes, but the regimen seems to agree with you. May you both enjoy a happy, healthy 70th anniversary and more. I'm sure many retired couples will identify with your letter.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "SHOPPED 'TIL I DROPPED IN MISSOURI": Don't take it personally. You are not alone. The late, unforgettable Erma Bombeck wrote: "I won't come right out and say my husband is a man who's difficult to buy for. I will only tell you that every time we give him a gift, we leave all the tags on, the sales slip between the tissue, and draw directions on how to get to the store where we bought it."

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600