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Does Your Insurance Policy Cover What You Think it Does?

Christopher A. TippingInsurance is a necessity in numerous aspects of our personal and professional lives. The State of Ohio mandates that we carry automobile insurance to drive a motor vehicle. We protect our home and its contents from damage, theft and destruction with homeowners insurance. And, we protect our businesses by purchasing various types of business liability insurance. While purchasing insurance policies in these and other areas is very important, equally important is having an understanding of the content of those policies, and what the policies expressly cover and exclude, before a claim is made. 

Too often, after insurance policies are purchased, they are filed away in a desk drawer and not thought about again until a claim arises. It typically takes the filing of a claim or lawsuit for a policyholder to actually read the terms and provisions of the insurance contract. This reaction to the filing of a claim is inevitably when the perception of coverage meets the reality of the actual policy language. What you believed was a covered loss may be excluded, or may be covered in a more limited fashion. How your policy defines the manner in which losses are recouped may be different than what you use in your business. Waiting for a claim to be filed to review the terms and provisions of your insurance policies is too late; it should be done on an on-going basis so that your policies of insurance match the realities of your specific personal and business circumstances.

A few examples to ponder:  If you lease your automobile, and are involved in an accident resulting in a total loss, how does your insurance policy handle a situation where the fair market value of the vehicle is less than the remaining lease obligation? If you lost your home to fire, or its contents to theft, how does your homeowners’ policy calculate your loss?  Is it replacement cost; fair market value/depreciation cost; or some other method?  Do you have enough coverage should a tragic event occur?  Finally, does your general business liability policy cover employment practices liability, officer/director errors and omissions, or claims for violations of specific Ohio statutes?  Can you purchase specific endorsements from your insurance carrier to provide you these coverages?  

The Stark & Knoll Litigation and Employment Group maintains a vibrant Insurance Defense practice, and works closely with insurance companies and their insureds in all facets of civil litigation. Our insurance law experience enables us to provide proactive analysis and advice to our clients regarding insurance policies, coverages, and how to best protect yourself, your assets, and your business when claims arise. Examine your insurance polices before a claim forces you too. To ensure your business and personal assets are properly covered by  your insurance policy, please contact Chris Tipping, or your Stark & Knoll attorney, at  330-376-3300.

Stark & Knoll Co., L.P.A. 3475 Ridgewood Road Akron, Ohio 44333-3163
Phone: 330-376-3300 Fax: 330-376-6237

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