While intended to protect consumers against disaster and loss, insurance policies can be extremely complex and difficult to understand. It’s not always easy to figure out the kind of coverage you should have and what to do when something goes wrong. In his over 24 years of practice, Tom Chase has encountered many insurance issues. He believes in educating each claimant about the complexities of insurance coverage up front.
In Tom’s experience, some of the most common insurance issues are preventable.
Obtain uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage. If you are in an accident with an uninsured, or underinsured, motorist and don’t have adequate coverage, you could be left “holding the bag.” Carrying uninsured motorist coverage on your policy helps protect you in the event of a car accident.
MINIMUM RECOMMENDED LIMITS: Tom recommends a minimum goal of $100,000.00 of u.m. per person, $300,000.00 per accident, and that you have the coverage “stacked” times the number of cars you own. If $100,000.00 per person is not within your budget, get as much as you can reasonably afford.
BODILY INJURY COVERAGE: You must be aware that your need for bodily injury coverage increases directly proportional to your net worth. If your agent does not know your net worth, make sure you give them a reasonable idea so they can have a reasonable idea as to how much coverage you need.
Beware of “undetermined” property damage. When you have a property claim, giving an approximation of damages is important. Saying that your damages are “undetermined” can sometimes lead to a denial of your claim.
- Document phone calls. When making a wind, storm or flood claim with the insurance company over the phone, be sure to document each request with a follow up letter or fax detailing your understanding of the call. Then file a copy for yourself.
- Know your policy. If you don’t have a current copy of your car, homeowners or renters insurance coverage policy, request a copy for your records.
- Report injuries carefully. When you have been injured in an accident, do report your injuries and details of the accident. However, be aware that injuries can evolve and emerge over time. A hurt knee, for instance, can develop into a chronic problem. Head and neck injuries are not always straightforward, and in extreme cases can lead to psycho-neural damage. When you report your injuries to the insurance company, do not suggest that you are “certain” that you have no other injuries until an attorney or trusted medical professional has evaluated your situation.
Keep homeowners insurance current. Make sure your wind, storm and flood damage is paid in full each month by the mortgage lender. A partially paid policy can result in denial of coverage.
Contact Tom Chase, an Experienced Insurance Attorney
If you are having an insurance dispute or have an insurance claim question, contact us online or call 239-645-4293 to speak with Tom Chase or a member of his staff.