At Frie, Arndt and Danborn, we’ve had lots of experience with insurance companies in terms of settling claims for injuries or other losses. Most insurance companies take a dim view of paying much money out to settle claims, so attorneys usually have to work hard for compensation for their clients who may have suffered an insured loss.
One of the things this work has taught us is that it’s important for clients to review their insurance policies. Insurance companies look for ways to deny coverage altogether. This is why it’s important to pay attention to the mail that comes to you from your insurance company, and to review your policies from time to time either by yourself, or with your agent.
A few years ago in Colorado a driver was involved in a fairly minor car accident. The police were not called. A few months after the accident, it became clear that despite the relative insignificance of the accident itself, a person in the other vehicle suffered terrible injuries. They filed suit against the driver. The driver did what any of us would do and turned the claim in to his company.
The company denied coverage.
The policy covering the driver had a clause that required that the police be called in the event of any accident. The insured driver had not done that. Coverage was denied. As I recall, this case worked its way through appellate courts all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the insurance company’s position that it was not obligated to pay damages.
Certainly most if not all insurance policies impose obligations on the insureds to notify the company, the police, or other agencies in the event of a suspected loss. You need to make yourself aware of these requirements. We suggest giving notice as required by the policy whenever anything happens that might result in a loss, no matter how impossible that seems at the time of the event. Give notice.
Similarly, I recently received an endorsement to my automobile policy from my insurance company. I was tempted to file it without reading it, but I took a couple of minutes to see what it said. This particular endorsement excepts from coverage any loss incurred while I am driving my vehicle as an Uber or similar driver.
Are we all receiving these notices? If we drove for Uber wouldn’t we expect to be covered by our insurance while doing that? If we suffered an accident while doing so, what would the magnitude of the losses be, and who would pay them?
Seems like just another way to give life to the bumper sticker I read recently that said “I came into the world with nothing and I still have most of it left.”
Take a few minutes to pay attention to your insurance coverage, and always read the mail from your insurance companies.
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