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Read Your Insurance Policies

Posted by William K. Thayer | Mar 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

In “The Other Coast” cartoon printed in the February 15, 2015 edition of the Columbian newspaper, a couple (two flying insects) have a dismayed look on their face as the official facing them across the desk looks at their insurance policy and drolly explains to them that they are “covered” for “all perils” except the one that is most likely to matter, “impact with automobile grilles and windshields”. It is funny, but actually, it has an alarming ring of truth to it as well.

Representing people day after day who have had some event that they thought they had purchased insurance coverage for, only to hear back from their insurer… that it is denying the very coverage that they thought they had purchased in buying the policy, has educated me on the significance of reading the insurance policy.”

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After you buy an insurance policy, auto, homeowners, or otherwise, the insurer has an obligation to send you a copy of the declarations page and policy. Something I never did (at least before I became a lawyer) was to read the insurance policies that the insurance company sent me. Now, I do. And I recommend you give it a try as well.

Representing people day after day who have had some event that they thought they had purchased insurance coverage for, only to hear back from their insurer – after they've had something awful happen that they need help financially in coping with – that it is denying the very coverage that they thought they had purchased in buying the policy, has educated me on the significance of reading the insurance policy.

In a future posting on this blog site, we will talk some more about what to look for – after you have pulled your insurance policy out and dusted it off – when you do try to read it. In the meantime, make sure you have a copy of your insurance policy, together with the page that declares what all is covered and up to what limits of coverage, so that you can be ready to spend an exciting hour or two, maybe over a cup of java or tea, enjoying the pleasure of learning what you are spending your insurance dollars on.

Maybe if you do so, you will have a chance to discern what changes or tweaks need to be made to your insurance coverages before an incident happens that requires you to file a claim with your insurance carrier, so that you don't end up sitting in an attorney's office someday, hearing them tell you for the first time about some silly exclusion in your insurance policy. One that you never even suspected might be there, but which unfortunately is going to prevent you from being compensated for the harm suffered that you had assumed would be covered when you bought your auto or homeowners policy.

About the Author

William K. Thayer

Bill Thayer is one of the founding partners of the Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards law firm. Bill is licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and has been practicing law since 1980. Bill advises and represents clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims and litigation, including automobile collision, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian injury and death cases, dog bite cases, construction site injury claims, and a myriad of other types of injury and death claims. While many claims are settled through negotiation or mediation, Mr. Thayer has litigated, arbitrated and/or tried to verdict many cases for his clients. He is also frequently appointed by courts and other lawyers to serve as an arbitrator of tort claims. Bill enjoys writing as one of his varied recreational interests when he is not working.

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