Policyholders, the insurance contract is not an exciting thing to read, but it should be read. I have found that many insurance agents, claims adjusters, underwriters, and attorneys don’t understand insurance policy language. So why should you read the policy if even some professionals have difficulty? Well, the simple answer is the more you know, the better you can protect yourself.
While you will probably not understand all of the policy let’s discuss some basic things you should check. Every policy differs but all of them have some common elements, the declerations, the insuring agreement, definitions, policy coverages, exclusions and conditions. Review the delecrations page. The delecrations page is in effect a summary of the coverages, and the specifically negotiated terms. The declerations page will give you the term of the policy, the premium, the general types of coverages the policy contains, and the finnacial limits of the coverages. You should check that each of these meet what you understood them to be when you decided to purchase the policy. If they do not you should contact your insurance company or agent to correct the problem immediatley.
The remaining sections of the policy are often difficult for people without insurance experince or legal training to understand, but it is worth reviewing the policy so you are generally aware of the coverages, defintions, and terms. If you see something that causes you concern, contact your company or agent.
When you have completed your review put the policy, along with your copy of the application, and informational brochures you recieved in a safe place. If you need the insurance down the road and there is a disupte between you and your insurance company, you will have all the information you need in one place.
If you have a claim disupte with your company the contract is the first place to go to understand the obligations of each party.