How To Read Your Policy

Jul 19, 2018, 10:15 AM

Here's what you need to look for to learn more about your insurance policy.

You’ve got a great policy with Hastings Mutual, one that provides the coverage you need. But how do you read it? What do those words mean? What exactly is covered under the terms of the policy? The best way to answer those questions is to ask your knowledgeable, helpful independent insurance agent. But if he or she isn’t available, here’s a guide on the basics to look for.
How to Read Your Policy

What's Included In A Policy?

A policy is a contract between the insurer (Hastings Mutual) and the insured (you). It usually contains four primary parts:

  1. Declarations page: The dec page shows a summary of the policy — who’s the insured, what forms and endorsements are included, the cost of premiums, coverage limits, and the length of time the policy is in force. It also shows your policy and account numbers, as well as details on the agency you work with. Those numbers are used by our staff to help identify your policy.
  2. Agreement: This is the heart of the policy, the insurance company’s promise to pay, describing what the insurer will pay and under what circumstances. Many policies have endorsements or other “extras” that can be added to the basic policy for additional fees. Some also define specific terms, like the ones we mentioned in our last post.
  3. Exclusions: As the name suggests, exclusions are situations when coverage doesn’t apply. Most often, exclusions are perils (certain causes of damage, like flood or earthquakes) or property (for example, vehicles in a homeowner’s policy).
  4. Conditions: These are requirements that have to be met for the insurer to pay on a claim. Typical conditions are the need to file a proof of loss, or to cooperate during an investigation into a liability lawsuit.

What Does A Policy Cover?

Here are few examples of what Hastings Mutual policies can do for you.

Personal insurance isn’t just for a home; it can also be for a rental property, a car, another kind of vehicle (like a boat or snowmobile), or many other types of property.

A Homeowners policy, one of the most popular offerings, typically covers:

  • Rebuilding the structure of your home
  • Replacing your personal property
  • Paying for the cost of additional living expenses (if you need to live somewhere else while your home is repaired or rebuilt)
  • Covering the cost of personal liability claims

Commercial policies address a company’s property, inventory, and employees. Hastings Mutual’s Businessowners Program, and Commercial Package Policies, offer coverage for all those areas, if you want it. They also can feature coverage for loss of business income (to make up for profits that weren’t made while the store was closed for repairs, for example), valuable papers, medical payments for injured employees and/or customers, and more.

Farm policies cover residences and business risks, breakdown and damage of machinery, outbuildings, and the risk of standing grain being hit by lightning or caught in a fire. Sudden and Accidental Pollution coverage is for cleanup and legal defense against unexpected oil leaks or chemical spills.

This content is for informational purposes only, and may not be applicable in all situations. Coverages may change; ask your agent for current information.

Source: NAIC, insure.com, thebalance.com

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