As we enter into a new year and many of us make goals for self-improvement and education during the coming months, I would like to suggest that one of the most important documents you should become familiar with is your insurance policy. The policy is your contract or agreement between yourself and your insurance carrier and valuable information can be gleaned from actually reading the policy.
I know what you are thinking. "I will trust my agent to tell me what is in the policy!" When you stop and consider this thinking, though, wouldn't that be like trusting that the Banking manager would be solely responsible for your checking account balance? We would never leave our account balance to another individual to look after our interests, and in the same way, we should be self-reliant in dealing with insurance policy knowledge.
Know What You Don't Know about Insurance
Unfortunately, in required reading the content is often tedious and can seem like "insurance jargon", but there is no unimportant information in a policy; therefore, you should definitely check out the various sections of the policy. In the event that you are wondering how to begin, I would encourage you to start at the beginning!
Once you are fully engrossed in the learning cycle of the insurance policy, you will find several sections that are noteworthy and they are as follows:
1) Agreement - What coverage are you paying for?
2) Who/What is Covered? - Property/Auto/Individual (Life, Health, Accident)/Liability
3) Definitions - Who is an insured? What is a covered auto? This list can be long and is usually quite specific.
4) Perils/Limitations/Exclusions - What is covered, what may have a limit of coverage, and what is not covered in the contract.
5) Conditions - Your rights and responsibilities in the contract and what you are required to do in the event of a loss.
6) Loss Settlement - How much the carrier will pay and other limitations of coverage.
Depending on your particular policy, there may be other sub-sections that could further break down the policy agreement for you. The very first sentence in the insurance contract is one in which you, as the insured, are instructed to Read it Carefully!
Review Your Insurance Policies Yearly
While I am confident that an insurance policy will likely never make the best-sellers list of recommended reading, as an insurance producer, I can tell you that knowing what your policy says before a loss is the best way to be informed. You do not have to be a professional to keep a bank ledger and you do not have to have professional credentials to pick up your policy and read it. When the time comes that you need to activate the agreement because of loss, you will be happy that you took the time!
Here's to a successful, prosperous, educational year!! Happy reading!