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AUTO INSURANCE BUYER MUST LIVE WITH THE TERMS OF HIS POLICY
An auto insurance buyer is under a duty to examine his insurance documents and to notify the insurer if there is a discrepancy between what he requested and what the insurer provided. So ruled an appeals court in a recent court case.
In the case, an injured driver claimed that he had requested a higher auto insurance coverage amount than was in his policy. He claimed that his insurer, USAA, deceived him by not issuing an auto insurance policy with higher coverage limits. Therefore, when the driver was injured in an accident by an underinsured motorist, he could not get full compensation.
But the injured driver lost the case. The court ruled in favor of USAA. In short, the appeals court decided that the driver failed to review the declaration pages and other documents USAA provided to him. These documents were designed to educate him about his auto insurance policy’s coverages.
The judges ruled that it was the driver’s obligation to alert USAA of the inconsistencies between what he wanted and what was in his policy. Because he didn’t, the judges held that USAA’s conduct was not the cause of his losses.
Strikingly, the judges further ruled that, even if USAA had intentionally failed to increase the driver’s benefits, USAA still would not be responsible. Again, because the driver should have reviewed his auto insurance policy when he received it.
I don’t agree with this court ruling. But it underscores the need for you to review your auto insurance coverage every time you get a new policy.
Try and buy as much auto insurance coverage as you can afford. You never know when you may need it. Once you have an accident, it will be too late to get more coverage.