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What does your declarations page say?

If you've ever had a conversation with one of your Pennsylvania friends about automobile insurance, you're likely familiar with a common misconception regarding this topic. Either you or someone you know might be among many who mistakenly believe car insurance follows drivers, when, in fact, this is not exactly so. It's more correct to say that an insurance policy follows a particular vehicle, not the people covered under the policy, per se. Sound confusing? That's okay, because it is rather complicated.

An insurance "policy" is a compilation of documents pertaining to general aspects of an insurance plan. One page, in particular, lists what is known as "declarations," which, essentially are specific details regarding your individual policy. This is a very important part of the collection of documents because it's where you find an itemization of exactly what is covered, for how much and for how long.

How to read your policy's declarations section

This crucial component in your auto insurance policy might be a single page or multiple pages within your contract. While every company's policies are different, most declaration pages follow similar general outlines. A typical layout looks something like this:

  • The beginning of the declarations section contains general information regarding policy numbers, contract dates, the policyholder's name, etc.
  • Below the general information section is typically where you can find details pertaining to the identification of your vehicle, such as its VIN number.
  • The next sections are more particular to individual policies. This is where you find itemization of coverage and premiums.
  • Most declarations pages include a list of drivers assigned to the vehicle, as well as the lienholder on the car loan.
  • At the end of the declarations section should be a list of all forms included in your policy. The declarations section itself is normally in this part.

Reviewing the declarations on your insurance policy can prove to be invaluable. There might be errors that call for immediate attention; otherwise, if you were to be involved in a collision, you might face serious complications if something you thought was covered is not included in your contract due to a mistake. Resolving such problems can be quite cumbersome.

Pay close attention to these things

There are several important factors regarding the declarations section on your insurance policy of which you'll want to be aware, especially if you're involved in a crash including the following:

  • Generally speaking, if a premium doesn't appear next to a coverage shown, then that coverage is not included in the contract. There are exceptions because some premiums are itemized and charged elsewhere.
  • The person listed as the policyholder at the top of the page may have rights and provisions under the policy that differ from all other assigned drivers listed in the driver section.
  • There are several ways to list the value of a vehicle. Understanding whether your vehicle has been assigned a cash value, a stated value or agreed value can ease a lot of potential stress that could occur in the aftermath of an accident.

The worst time to learn about a car insurance policy is after an accident has already occurred. By taking time to review the declarations ahead of time, drivers may be better prepared to navigate the system in the aftermath of a collision. If you've suffered injuries in an accident and are facing insurance obstacles, an experienced personal injury attorney may be of great assistance in your time of need.

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Haggerty Hinton & Cosgrove LLP 203 Franklin Ave Scranton, PA 18503 Phone: 570-904-8259 Fax: 570-343-9731 Scranton Law Office Map

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