Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SW Michigan
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The fact that you pretty much need an attorney to decipher what your insurance covers or doesn't cover should come as no surprise when you realize that most insurance policies are drawn up by attorneys. In the real world that most of us operate in, the one where we do not take our insurance policy to an attorney for review, it behooves us to seek out an insurance agent who not only answers our questions but tells us the answer to the questions we should be asking.
I agree with LMM's sentiments regarding insurance companies in general but would disagree with some of the particulars expressed. The unfortunate nature of the business is that you must prove, by your lack of claims, that you are the actuarial exception to the rule. And that takes time. So you'll probably never get a decent auto insurance rate until you've shown that you do not drive like the average 21 year-old male. Even if you do so it's unlikely you'll ever get a great rate in insuring a Ferrari.
The debate over hurricane damage is semi-hilarious to we disinterested observers from afar. Even those of us far from the hurricane paths know that flood insurance is a separate policy from normal homeowners insurance. And there's a veritable cottage industry of attorneys and state consumer protection groups who milk every hurricane for all it's worth. They're never around when you're signing up for the cheapest policy you can get and they cannot mandate full and complete coverage because the average citizen cannot afford to pay what that would cost-or is unwilling to do so. But they pop out of the woodwork the minute the storm passes. Little wonder that many companies choose not to participate in such markets. Hurricane risks are not alone in their actions. Homeowners in Malibu and other areas prone to mud-slides, as well as those living in the Mississippi flood plain, are also notorious for expecting the federal government or someone other than themselves to assume their risk. When you slide off the road in snow and ice conditions that would challenge a mountain goat you accrue insurance points against your policy; they hold you "principally responsible". When the benighted resident s of the hurricane belt start marching in support of no-cost snow and ice liability I might turn other than a deaf ear to their cries.
But let's not try that malarkey about how they didn't know they needed additional coverage. It's about all the newscasts have to report on after they say 85 degrees and afternoon showers.
If insurance companies are so profitable, why don't more people invest in them within the market? Probably for the same reason that investing in oil companies isn't a popular investment.
All that being said, I rank insurance companies a notch below attorneys, if only for the fact that they willfully sell a product whose description cannot be conclusively interpreted by less than an experienced insurance lawyer. There's a reason they don't put, You Ain't Covered for No Floods, at the bottom of every page-they don't want to lose the sale for what may be inadequate coverage in any event.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.