Recently, we have seen a rise in calls concerning insurance claims denied, policies cancelled, and other legal issues surrounding the insurance industry as a whole. There are a few reasons that might explain this, but the important thing is to be aware that it is happening and know what you can do to protect yourself.
Request a copy of your declarations page and your entire policy from your insurer. The declarations page is a one page cheat sheet that gives you some important information about your coverage. The policy tells you in detail what you are and are not covered for. You should be well informed of what you have (and what you don't) so you can determine if you have enough to cover your needs.
Know when your premiums are due, when your policy expires and when it needs to be renewed. If you don't already have these deadlines in writing, call your insurer and request that they provide it for your file, put them on your calendar and pay the premiums when they are due. Insurance companies like to use late or unpaid premiums as a basis for cancellation or denial, even if it is something you've been paying for years; depending on the circumstances, they may have every right to take this action. Likewise, make sure your policy expiration date is provided in writing. Adjusters, for example, can confuse a "3 month policy" with a "90 day policy," and those are two different things.
Try your best to ensure important discussions about your policy are recorded or in writing. Most often this concerns a telephone conversation you are having with an adjuster over a confusing aspect of your policy. Unfortunately, it is usually that exact confusing aspect of the policy you were going over with your adjuster that becomes a legal issue down the road, rendering the clarification that was discussed during that telephone call of vital importance to resolving any dispute. Once it becomes a dispute, adjusters often claim that the call you had with them either did not happen or not in the way you said it did. Without a recording or something in writing, it then becomes their word vs. yours.
Consult with a lawyer. Many insurers intentionally create road blocks because they know that if they create enough of them, you might eventually give up the fight. They also know, however, that a lawsuit can expose them to greater monetary risks than simply paying the claim. Many times, getting a lawyer involved eliminates the nonsense. If you think the insurance company got a decision wrong, double check with an attorney. If an attorney is willing, it also never hurts to consult with one over confusing aspects of your policy before a dispute arises. Many lawyers don't mind helping folks understand their policies better by providing a little more clarity.