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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Auto Insurance 101

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Who out there ever reads their insurance policy?  When you first purchase your policy, you should be provided with a multi page booklet setting out all the terms of the contract.  Attached to the front should be a sheet that is referred to as a “declaration page”.  This is typically a one page sheet listing the coverages you bought and the dollar limits you purchased for each.  Liability coverage, uninsured motorist, comprehensive and collision and the amount of coverage on each are usually listed here.  Attached to the booklet are several sheets of paper labeled “endorsements”.  Each endorsement has a code which is listed on the declaration page.  In order to make sure you have the entire policy, you need to make sure every endorsement listed on the declaration page is attached.  The endorsements are changes the company made to the policy that have yet to be incorporated into the contract.  These become part of the contract and change the terms of the policy.  They also make an already confusing policy very difficult to read as you have to refer back and forth from the endorsements to the policy to determine which one applies and which section is replaced or deleted.  Be prepared to get one to two endorsements every six months or every time you renew your policy.   Typically the endorsements limit coverage or create some new exclusion where your insurance won’t protect you.  To make matters worse, most companies send the endorsements out in odd sizes of paper, making it difficult to keep them organized and attached to the initial policy.  Eventually the endorsements become bigger in bulk than the policy and the company prints up a new booklet to mail to the consumer.  Then the process starts all over again.  With minor exceptions, most consumers find that every six months they get a bill increasing their rates and an endorsement creating new exclusions to coverage.  More money for less coverage, such a deal.