Think your car policy covers everything? It may or it may not. Most car insurance policies have exclusions written into them, however I can probably count on one hand the number of clients I have who read their policies. Your policy is typically mailed or emailed to you when you get a new policy or when your policy renews.
Here are three scenarios your policy may not cover:
- Keys left in the ignition
- Evading the police
- Excluded drivers
Scenario 1: You pull up to your favorite Dallas area 7-11 or Starbucks to get a cup of coffee while on the way to work. Since it’s cold outside, you leave the keys in the car with the engine running because you’ll only be a moment and you can see it from inside. While you’re paying, someone jumps into your car and drives away. Is this covered?
- Several well-known insurance companies actually don’t cover this.
- A number cover it, but you might be surprised at who doesn’t.
Not too many people still leave their keys in the ignition with the engine running, but I still see it from time to time, usually in front of a convenience store.
Scenario 2: Several years ago a man was struck by a person in north Texas who was trying to outrun a police officer chasing him for speeding. The person evading the police crested a hill, was over the center lane line, and struck a car injuring a dad who was driving home. Unfortunately for the man driving home, he had Texas State minimum limits and required extensive surgery and physical therapy for the injuries he suffered when hit.
- The injured man attempted to collect from the insurance company of the person who struck him.
- His claim was denied and later upheld when the injured man sued.
- The insurance company’s policy excluded coverage for anyone engaged in an illegal activity such as evading arrest.
While most people don’t engage in illegal activity, consider the case of Scott Banks, a resident of Mesquite, Texas. On the night of Wednesday, December 26, 2012, Banks led Mesquite police officers on a high speed chase on LBJ Freeway (Interstate 635). Banks collided with three cars when he attempted to drive between them, lost control of his car, and rolled it several times.
Banks was charged with evading arrest and driving without insurance. Thankfully, none of the three people he struck were injured but I also hope they had uninsured motorist coverage.
Scenario 3: Most insurance companies typically cover each driver living in the same home. All drivers in your home need to be listed on the policy and rated to be covered, however there are some companies where this is not the case.
- These companies tend to only cover one or two drivers in the home and exclude the other people (this practice is to keep the premium / payments low).
- Should an excluded driver on the policy drive the car and wreck into you, these companies will not cover the damage done to your car.
- They don’t even cover the damage to the car that hit you if an excluded driver drove it.
How do you really know what your policy covers or doesn’t cover? Read the policy, specifically the exclusions. You’ll learn a lot and may be surprised at what you learn. Have a question about your policy? Ask me in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook and Google + pages.