Careful Reading of Insurance Policies Crucial to Prevent Disaster

Insurance can be a tricky subject for the average consumer. There is a lot of paperwork, confusing terms, and many people do not understand what their insurance actually covers. However, the easiest way to combat the confusion is to take the time to read through your insurance policy. Oftentimes, the answers to all of your questions can be found buried deep within your policy. You just have to know where to look.

It is important to note that insurance companies will strictly follow and enforce the written policy, so it is vital that you are familiar with your plan. You should get a complete copy of the plan and keep it in your records in case you need it in the future. Pay particular attention to the four major sections. The four sections include declarations, conditions, insuring agreements, and exclusions.

The declarations section states who is being insured, what is covered, policy limits, and the effective dates of coverage. The correct name of the insurance company will also be found in this section. The timing of the coverage is very important. If the policy says that it is in effect January 1, then it does not apply if you have an accident a few hours sooner. For example, one man was rushed the hospital with a medical emergency, but was denied coverage by his insurance company because his hospital visit was merely five hours before his plan activated.

The next piece of the policy is the conditions section. This part includes all of the things that you must do in order to be insured. There may also be a conditions section for each coverage part (such as liability, collision, etc.). These conditions are important because they may also limit what the insurance company will cover and your ability to file a claim. A common condition, for example, is if you are going to file suit then you must file within a certain amount of time. Definitions for some of the terms of the policy may also be found in this section if they do not have their own section within the policy.

The third part of the policy is the insuring agreements section. This section states specifically what the policy will actually cover. Insuring agreements is also the most important section of your policy, so read this part carefully!

Lastly, the final section is the exclusions section. The exclusion section takes away or limits some of the insuring agreements coverage. It is vital that you read both of these sections together because you may think something should be covered based on the insuring agreements section, but actually, it is not covered because of the exclusions section.

A case in the Eastern District of Louisiana gives a good example of the importance of reading through your policy and knowing your plan well. An individual was in a car accident with a company vehicle. At the time of the accident, the individual who ran the company was insured under his own name in the amount of $300,000. Four months after the accident, the insurance was extended to $1 million and the policy changed to the company name. The victim of the accident then sued claiming that the insurance company had fraudulently led the victim to believe that the insurance coverage was only $300,000, not $1 million.

Unfortunately, the victim did not read the policy very well. The court ruled that the policy clearly stated the amount that it covered and who it covered. There was actually no fraud involved. It was just a matter of reading the policy. The timing of the accident was also important. At the time of the accident, the coverage was for $300,000, not $1 million, so the accident was only covered for up to $300,000.

Insurance coverage is very complicated and it is too important to be misunderstood. Coverage could be the determining factor in whether you have to pay a big bill on your own or with help from your insurance company.

Your best protection is competent legal counsel who can help you work your way through your insurance policy so you know what is covered and what is not. Call the Berniard Law Firm Toll Free at 1-866-574-8005 and we will be happy to help you with your insurance claim questions.

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