Insights on insurance

Perhaps you are like most people – when you get your monthly billings from department stores, gasoline companies, utilities, cell phone, etc., the first thing you do is strip the flyers and advertisements and throw them away, saving only the invoice and the reply envelope for future payment. Well, let me suggest that this is not a good plan when you get your renewal billings from your insurance company!

While there may be a stuffer pertaining to a promotion of some sort, many of those inserts are important modifications to your insurance and need your attention and consideration. Insurance companies print policies (known as ‘jackets’) by the thousands to reduce their printing costs. There are variations, however, caused by different state statutes or regulations. Further, as situations change and the policy verbiage needs to be modified, rather than destroying and re-mailing new jackets, the insurance company modifies the contract by endorsement, the legal name for those inserts in your renewal package.

When you purchase a new policy, you will receive a complete policy jacket, along with a declarations page and any endorsements applicable at that time. Then, for the entire policy term, only you can change these provisions (for example, add or delete a car, change coverage). Toward the end of that term, you will receive a renewal packet that, likely, will not include a new jacket, but will include a new declaration (or ‘dec’) page along with any endorsements. It is wise and prudent that you take a moment to review all of these endorsements as they actually represent changes in your policy provisions and/or coverage.

Be sure to question your agent about any changes that you don’t understand. On a related note, please be aware that any time you request a change in your coverage, you should receive a revised declarations page, which details your changes and includes adjustments to your premium, either a refund or a balance due. Be sure to review this document as well to ensure that your desired changes were all done properly.

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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 2:51 PM, 01.18.2011