According to an online Harris Interactive poll, reported by Insurance Networking News, confusing insurance policy wording makes auto insurance policies incomprehensible to 36% of American drivers.
The survey revealed that 87% of drivers who currently have auto insurance said they had read at least some of their auto insurance policies, but that 36% of those drivers complained that their auto insurance policies were somewhat or very difficult to understand.
Despite the fact that more than 30 states have enacted laws intended to simplify policy language, the online quote aggregator says that many consumers are confused by how their policies are written, and struggle to determine what’s covered and what’s not.
The irony with all this is, in California and many states, the law presumes that a consumer has read their insurance policy and understands its terms. I advise all my clients to read their policies as carefully as they can and then ask their broker/agent questions about the parts they don’t understand.
Not that this always helps. I have one case right now where the insured read their policy and thought they understood it, only to find out when their claim for a defense was denied that there was some case law the insurance company thought meant that the policy didn’t cover anything.
The truth is, right now the law favors insurance companies over consumers, so people need to watch their step and be very careful in buying and maintaining insurance.
And, yes, I read my own insurance policies and, no, I don’t understand everything I read, even though I litigate insurance disputes for a living.
What a world.
Bill Daniels is a trial lawyer and shareholder with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA. A graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, he is a former member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Board of Governors, a founding member of Loyola’s Civil Justice Program and a past president of the Encino Lawyers Association. Since 2007, he has been named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Daniels focuses his practice on serious personal injury, insurance and employment. For information, visit our website at www.daniels.legal or contact us through e-mail: Info@danielslaw.com.