Understanding Your Car Insurance Contract

Understanding car insurance contract documents have been major problems for many car owners and people seeking car insurance policy. Many clients always say they can’t read these documents due to the fact that it’s been filled with legal terms difficult to understand and is voluminous, others said they don’t have time to read these documents and think it might not be necessary since they are paying their premiums.

It should be pointed out that it’s vital to understand car insurance policy you have chosen as it equips you with the necessary knowledge on what to do when you encounter problems while playing the road with your car. Problems such as;

·         Who to call when you encounter accident

·         How to cancel your policy if you need to

·         Procedure to make auto insurance claims

·         Contact information of the insurance issuer and

  • Other vital information you may need concerning your dealing with your auto insurance company

This article is written for proper understanding of your car insurance policy. It explains key elements of your policy that are vital for all auto insurance seekers and current holders.

Definition

Car insurance contract is a legally backed document which states the agreement between auto insurance companies called insurers and the policy seeker on how to manage risks associated with policy seeker use of his vehicle on road. This document entails claims which the insurer is legally required to pay in exchange of premium which are normally remitted monthly, quarterly or yearly by the insured. This document usually is draft in a language both parties understand and are also designed to meet the specific needs of the insured.

Auto insurance contract papers are normally more than one document. Other documents such as summary of your car insurance policy, Certificate of insurance, policy booklet, change in policy schedule and company’s contact information are also part of car insurance contract. Also, advertising materials such as circular, banners, billboard are not part of auto insurance policy document including the oral agreement of both parties are in most cases not part of auto insurance contract document.

Structure of Auto Insurance Contract

Auto insurance contract document is divided into many sections depending on the issuer of the insurance policy. Generally, the following information is mainly contained in auto insurance contracts;

  1. Insurance Company information: This section contains information such as; Auto insurance company’s name, its logo, contact information such as address, telephone number, fax, website, and e-mail.
  2. Private information of car insurance seeker: This section contains the name of the auto insurance policy seeker, home address, place of work, location, mobile telephone number, house phone number and email address.
  3. Driver’s information: This section contains private information about the person that will be driving the vehicle. In most cases, drivers’ private information is also the same as private information of auto insurance policy seeker. It contains drivers name, home address, telephone number, valid license with date issued and also expiring date.
  4. Vehicle information: This section contains the type of vehicle to be insured and its detailed internal and external descriptions.
  5. Premium information which contains the amount of money auto insurance policy seeker will pay to the insurance company in exchange for risk protection that may happen while driving on the road. This section also stresses if this amount should be paid monthly, quarterly or yearly.
  6. Declaration Page: The information in this section includes: name of the insurance company, name(s) and other personal information, identification of policy seeker or holder, policy number, time duration of auto insurance policy, the type of car insurance coverage purchased, premium charges and documents and forms that are part of the contract. This section is normally signed by the policy seeker as acceptance of the information.
  7. Your Policy Cover: This section of auto insurance policy explains car insurance type you choose. It also highlights the additional coverage you took such as;

·         Personal items coverage

·         Towing

·         Emergency repairs

·         Storage cost

Trailer or caravan damage and much more extra coverage your auto insurance company handle.

Also, your policy cover contains what may affect your coverage. Such things like;

·         Driving under the influence of alcohol

·         Unlicensed driver using your vehicle

Some auto insurance company includes non-abidance to traffic rules under this section.

  1. Claiming under your policy:  This section addresses your responsibility when making a claim on your car insurance policy. It also states conditions you can make car insurance claims. It also points out the following;

How to settle disputes between you and your insurance company.

·         It also explains the procedure you should take when you have an accident for you to make a claim.

·         How to pay your premium

Making changes to your policy which might occur. Such changes include; canceling your policy if you want to sell or give away your car or changing your vehicle.

  1. In addition, most car insurance contract explains the code of practice, privacy of your personal information.
  2. Other sections of car insurance policy include:

·         Definitions of terms used in the insurance contract.

·         General condition of the policy.

·         Agreement and mutual condition of the contract and

  • When car insurance coverage applies

Finally, it should be pointed out here that the structures of the car insurance contract are not limited to the points highlighted above. Each company chooses how the structure of this legal document is draft. The points highlighted above are always present in the majority of auto insurance contract documents.

Validity of Car Insurance Contract

There are high points that must be outlined in your car insurance contract papers for it to be considered valid. Most of these points are stated here below:

The information given by you to your car insurance company (including agents) must be true and compete to the best of your knowledge.

Your auto insurance type you took must be stated in the insurance contract (which can be comprehensive, collision, rental, personal injury protection car insurance coverage or others). In some car insurance contract, it shows the cover in your policy for accident, injury, loss or damage that happens within the territorial limits during the duration of insurance.

The contract will uphold that the policy seeker/holder should be of legal age and mentally sound. Some auto insurance companies allow parents to attest for the policy seeker that is one or two years older than the legal age. This is to mainly make the policy seeker legally capable of handling any outcome that results when driving. This legal capability also applies to vehicle insurance company which are licensed under prevailing regulations which governed them.

It will also charge the policy seeker/holder to update the insurance company changes in information as soon as they are available. The contracts will also state the parties involved which are you and the car insurance company. This means that third parties are not involved except stated otherwise. Vehicle insurance contracts state the name, address, and other contact details of both parties involved, (policyholder and auto insurance company).

Car insurance contract must have its adhesion to doctrine. This is one of the crucial elements in the contract documents which state that in the contract, policy seeker will accept the entire auto insurance contract and its terms and conditions without bargaining once satisfied with the contract terms. This will make insured not to alter the terms of the contract or any ambiguities.

Also, declaration page, signature, and date the contract was made are very vital for the contract to be considered valid.

REFLECTIONS:
  1. Have I taken the time to read and understand my car insurance policy?
  2. Did my car insurance contract suits what l actual want from car insurance company?
  3. If No, can I renegotiate with my insurance company?
  4. Is my car insurance contract valid?

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