How do I know what coverage I have?
When we consult with people who have been involved in a car accident, most do not know what kind of car insurance coverage they have off-hand. This is not surprising, because car insurance policies are intentionally confusing, broad, vague, ambiguous, and unnecessarily long (insurance companies rely on the fact that most people will not actually read the policy or fully understand the coverage) . A phrase we often hear from some to describe their policy is that they have "the full coverage," but because of the various types and sizes of coverages and exceptions, that doesn't really mean anything.
The best and easiest way to get a full, CliffsNotes view of your coverage is to request that your insurer provide you with your Declarations Page. In fact, you should do this before you are invovled in a car accident so that you not only have a full understanding of what you have, but also what other coverages you might consider adding. It is also one of the first things your lawyer will request to see. Below is an example of what a "Dec Page" might look like.
As you can see, the Dec Page gives you a quick 1-2 page overview of the coverages you have and have declined. It's important to know what these coverages actually mean (to be addressed in future blogs), and the Dec Page will not provide a detailed account of what exceptions exist that might cause coverage to be denied (you have to read your actual policy for that information). But the Dec Page will at least give you a blueprint of what you already have and what additonal coverage you might want to consider.