Monday, August 20, 2012

Do you really know what your insurance policy covers? Keep from being surprised at claims time.

People get hooked up with insurance companies for lots of different reasons: funny commercials, a relative in the business, the absolute cheapest rate. Picking for any of these reasons would be okay if it weren’t for this truth: Claims happen, and all insurance policies are NOT the same.
For instance, if a hail storm destroys your roof and you need a new one, will your home policy pay for the full replacement cost of a new roof? You’d think so. But not all policies do. Some take depreciation of your old roof into account, paying you half of what it actually costs for a new roof. Now, you have to come up with an extra $3,000 to replace your roof. Was saving $100 on the extra cheap rate for your home policy worth it?
How about your auto insurance? Does your policy extend your insurance to that rental car you’re driving to Florida next week? Or does it exclude rental cars, meaning you need to sign up for the car rental company’s insurance (at great cost)? Not all auto policies cover a rental car. Does yours?
Let’s say your Franklin Tennessee home is being rebuilt after being blown away in a tornado, but it’s taking longer than a year (a more common occurrence than you think)? Does your policy’s “Loss of Use” coverage (pays for extra living expenses while you’re not able to live in your house during rebuilding) last more than 1 year? Some do; some don’t. Will your policy pass the test when it’s needed most?
You have a relative who doesn’t have car, doesn’t have insurance, but does have a valid drivers license. She has an urgent need to borrow your car for the afternoon. Is she covered? Are YOU covered? Maybe, maybe not. It always depends on the language contained in your specific policy.
Can you operate a business in your house and be covered by your home policy?
You have an accident and your car is damaged beyond repair -- how does your insurance company figure the salvage value?
If your $4,000 ring is stolen, will you get the entire amount back from your home insurance?
Your car broke down in Lebanon. Will your policy even provide roadside assistance? Will it merely tow you to the closest gas station or bring you back to Franklin?
The list of scenarios could go on and on…
Homes burn. Cars crash. People are injured or even killed. You don’t want to find out what your policy covers, or doesn’t cover, AFTER something bad happens. The way claims are settled depends on what’s written on those pages of the policy. It’s in your interest to know what those pages say. That means to, gulp, read them!
We all know that insurance policies will never make it to any “bestseller” list. Just find a moment of weakness, and force yourself to read your home and auto policies. Also review the policies with your agent, who can help decipher the insurance-speak, and research answers to any specific questions you may have. If your agent’s unwilling to do this, find a new agent – it’s part of the job!
Won’t it be comforting to know that you have reviewed your policies with your agent, and made changes or switched companies, depending on the review? We can’t choose whether a major event will impact our lives, but at least we will have done our best to protect ourselves and prepare for the possibility.
Let me know if I can help you “decode” your insurance policy and make sure you have the protection you need.

David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin TN 37067  
Phone:  615-778-1816

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