Not the police report. Most everyone remembers that. Not the license number of the other driver. Hopefully that’s in the police report. It’s something you’ll look for once, every few years, if at all, and then it will be filed away in a drawer of a desk or a folder in the kitchen or in the trash. What is it?
The declarations page to your insurance policy, also known as the “Dec” page.
How Can You Get Ahold of Your Declarations Page?
It is just a one page which summarizes all your insurance coverage using acronyms that are entirely indecipherable to the uninitiated. Boring, right? Yet, whole lawsuits rise or fall, depending on what’s printed on it. It’s one of the first documents I ask for after a client is injured and nine out of ten times, my clients say something to the effect of, “Why? The accident wasn’t my fault? Why should my insurance pay?”
It has nothing to do with fault. If I had not already believed that my client wasn’t at fault, I wouldn’t even ask for this document. Only, here’s the trick. You don’t really have to search for it. If you’ve been hit by a car and are lying in bed, listening to tv on pain killers, don’t bother even trying to look for it. Pick up the phone and call your car insurance agent. Ask him, or her, to email a copy of your “dec” page to you. They’ll know what it is. When you’re done, forward it to your personal injury attorney.
Why is Your Declarations Page So Important?
By looking at a declarations page you’re attorney can tell:
- Whether you have to run up an unpaid bill for your medical expenses. How? The dec page will have small box that says “med pay”. That’s short hand for medical payment coverage, which is usually about $5000. If you have that coverage you are able to pick and choose where you go for treatment and the health care provider will bill your insurance. And no it doesn’t increase your rates.
- Whether or not your claim will succeed, even if the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance or has limited insurance. Everyone who drives on the road is supposed to have insurance, but of course they don’t. You can’t even rely on a police report or the insurance card the other driver shows you because if that driver missed a payment, the coverage may have been cancelled. So how does staring at the “dec” page help you? There’s another box on the ‘dec’ page which if checked, means you have “UM” or Uninsured Motorist coverage. There are numbers next to it, like 15/30 or 50/100 or even 100/300. Take those number and multiply them by a thousand and that tells you how much coverage you have, even if the other party is uninsured. The first number is for one person, and the second is for everyone. What’s more, if you have a large policy, and the drive who hits you has only minimal limits, you then have under insured coverage for the same amount. Once the attorney sees that box checked, he knows he has a chance of achieving a recovery for you. If not from the driver, then from your own carrier utilizing a much easier legal process call binding arbitration. And again, it doesn’t raise your rates…because the accident wasn’t your fault!
Call Today to Speak With a Walnut Creek Car Accident Attorney