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Whether you’re buying or renewing insurance – be wary!
Don’t be intimidated by complicated language. Ask all questions you need to thoroughly understand your policy. If your policy is just incomprehensible, ask your agent to suggest a “plain language” policy.
Legally, any renewal is considered a new contract. Don’t assume you are getting same coverage! Read renewal policy carefully. Ask your agent to confirm in writing whether there are any changes in renewed policy, and, if so, then what are they so that you are not surprised after a loss.
If a claim is filed against you, immediately notify your insurance company and agent by certified letter, even if you don’t think you’re covered. This is your responsibility. Failure to notify your insurer of an insurance claim is a cause for non-payment of your claim.
If your insurance company or broker denies claim coverage, contact an attorney. Don’t try to negotiate on your own. It is our experience that insurance companies deny responsibility too frequently. An initial denial of your claim my simply be a negotiating tactic.
If you have a dispute with your insurance company, consult your policy to find out how much time you have to start a lawsuit and contact an attorney well before that time expires.
Remember, money you spend now for legal fees to prevent future problems is a drop in bucket compared to fees you will pay in future litigation. If you use your attorney wisely, it could be one of best investments you make.
Betsy Sweetser is a partner in complex non-personal injury civil litigation and appellate work with the law firm Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman at 100 Nassau Park Blvd., Princeton, NJ. Phone: 609-520-0900; http://www.pralaw.com