Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't Let Endorsements "Subtract" Coverage You Need

Most people don’t think about endorsements in their truck insurance policy. If they do, they’re not certain what that word means. People know that lawyers write them, which makes the words hard to understand. Do you feel this way? Let’s discover the loophole that will help us avoid this "sin".

Endorsements remind me of yellow post it notes. You know, the little notes you stick on top of stuff. Endorsements are like that. They get stuck (attached) to the policy. They are legal contracts. They either add or subtract coverage from the policy.

All policies have endorsements. They are listed by form number on the declarations page. The declarations page is in the first part of the policy. Read it carefully. Does anything there look like it could cause you a problem? Call your broker if you are worried. Don’t wait until there is a claim.

How do you know if your policy is complete? That’s easy! Each form has a number. Match up the form numbers on the front page with the attached forms. If you are missing one, your policy is not complete. You need to call your broker. Let them know someone made a mistake. People make mistakes, but you need a complete policy. Plus, you will impress your broker!

Insurance policies are not all equal! The basic policy is standard. However, endorsements change your protection. When you shop for the best deal, be careful. Sometimes lower prices subtract protection. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Listen to what the broker says. Does the broker give you a clear and direct answer? Or is the answer vague and rambling? Your broker should make you feel confident.

Here are some insider tips. Understanding these forms will help you avoid problems:

- Non-Reported Driver – What may happen? The company might deny a collision claim. The collision deductible might be doubled, and the policy might be cancelled or non-renewed.
- Radius Restriction – What may happen? The company may deny a physical damage loss if it occurs out of radius.
- Cargo Commodity – What may happen? There is a cargo loss. The type of cargo lost is not listed on the policy. Your claim is denied. For example. Your policy states you haul groceries. You have a loss and your load is steel. The load of steel may not covered.
- Bodily Injury & Property Damage Deductible – What may happen? You have an accident. The other party is hurt and so is their property. You pay this deductible to the other party. This payment is on top of your own collision deductible.
- Property Damage Only Deductible – What may happen? You damage another’s property. You pay this deductible to the other party. Again, this is on top of your own collision deductible.
- Newly-Acquired Vehicle Limitation – What may happen? You buy a new vehicle and drive it home. You do not add it to your policy. The next day it is in an accident. Your claim is denied. Many dealers think you have 30 days of automatic coverage.
- Cargo Theft Limitation – Limited coverage on cargo target commodities. Target commodities consist of liquor (except beer and wine). Tobacco products including cigars and cigarettes. Seafood unless it’s canned. Cameras or film; wearing apparel; computer equipment or components and software. Other items include fax machines, photocopiers, DVD players, stereos, and televisions.
- Unattended Covered Vehicle – What may happen? This form excludes cargo loss by theft, unless at the time of loss the covered vehicle is garaged in a building or parked in a fully enclosed or fenced yard.

Before you hit the panic button, read your policy. If you have a problem with it, perhaps, one of three things happened.

  • You didn’t tell your broker enough about your business.
  • You did tell your broker and he/she wasn’t listening.
  • Your broker doesn’t have enough knowledge about truck insurance.

In any case, call your broker and explain the problem. Get it solved before a claim occurs. If your broker can’t help, find another broker. By the way, we’re available TOLL FREE (888) 472-4915 or online anytime.

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