The insurance policy is a long, legal document that includes details of the agreement between you and the insurance company. The policy is usually dozens of pages long and it comes in three sections:
- Declarations page: Usually only one or two pages long. It looks a lot like the billing page you get annually in the mail when you pay your premium.
- Policy: Sometimes comes in a bound or stapled booklet format and makes up the bulk of your policy packet.
- Endorsements: This section can also be very lengthy and changes the policy for various reasons. For example if you buy extra coverage for jewelry, or the state makes a law that changes the policy. The number of endorsements you have will be spelled out on your declarations page. (See Chapter 4 in our free eBook for more information about your policy.)
Unfortunately, for the average homeowner the policy can be very difficult to read. You may have one understanding, but the adjuster might tell you something completely different. They might also ask you to do things that aren’t required or clearly spelled out in the policy. See Chapter 4 in our free eBook, A Survivor’s Guide to Insurance, for how to handle situations like this and more detail about understanding your policy.
You need a copy of your policy
If you need help getting a copy of your policy, read our post on how to Get a Copy of your Policy.
If you’re in California and you’ve suffered a loss after a state declared disaster, become familiar with how your policy changes. Following the 2003 wildfires, survivors banded together and had some regulations passed that might be beneficial to you. It includes an extension to how long you can use your ALE and regulations on when the insurance company can cancel your policy.