It may surprise you to learn that your car insurance policy has rules that could catch you unaware if you’re in an accident. That’s because hidden provisions – rules that may be buried in your policy documents – end up giving you less coverage than you might need.
“Whether you're insuring the first car you've ever bought or you haven't paid attention to your insurance policy in a while, your goal is the same: You want to be adequately covered if you get in an accident, but you don't want to pay more than you have to,” Edmunds says. “ … When you've done your research and zeroed in on a company, read over the main points of the policy.”
Did you know that, in Michigan, even if you’re paying for the highest level of coverage, there are instances when it won’t be enough? Here are some of the specifics about provisions that insurance companies might have in your policy, according to Goodman Acker, a local personal injury law firm:
- Step-down provisions lower your coverage to state minimums, regardless of how much you pay. One type of step-down provision decreases your coverage if someone not on your insurance policy is driving. Another type kicks in if you injure a family member while driving.
- Alcohol exclusion provisions limit or eliminate your coverage if you injure anyone while driving drunk. They also let insurance companies prevent doctors from diagnosing alcohol problems or recommending treatment.
- Unlicensed driver provisions limit or eliminate your coverage if you drive without a license on you.
- Business exclusion provisions prevent you from being covered if you use your car or a friend's car for business purposes.
- Car theft provisions offer low or no payout after a car theft, if there isn’t evidence of forced entry.
“When challenged, Michigan’s appellate courts have consistently upheld step-down provisions,” Goodman Acker says. “Unfortunately, the Michigan Insurance Commissioner has done nothing to eliminate the use of such clauses.”
Review your insurance policy, and tell your family members and friends to do the same. If you don’t like the idea of hidden provisions in your policy, spread the word about the dangers they present, find an insurance company that doesn’t have them and contact the Michigan Insurance Commissioner to express your disagreement with them.
Goodman Acker has provided the community with information and advice about provisions at goodmanacker.com/hiddenprovisions. After all, educating yourself will help you avoid extra stress if you’re in a car accident. And, if you are an accident, before speaking to an insurance adjuster, protect yourself by hiring an attorney who will protect your interests, as you deal with the often confusing insurance process.
The attorneys at Goodman Acker ease that process by looking over your policy and speaking with you about the circumstances of the accident and your injuries. Visit goodmanacker.com for more information, or call 248-793-2010 for a free, no-obligation case review by one of the experienced and top-rated lawyers, who will explain the legal process to you and answer any questions.