Home / Car News / Should You Read Your Car Insurers’ Terms and Conditions?

 

These days, consumers are faced with increasingly complex user agreements and terms and conditions. Presumably, they’re expected to read these in great detail before they actually begin using the product in question. However, the length and complexity of these documents makes it nearly impossible to actually decipher their contents.

There have been plenty of studies published on this issue. The Guardian reported on a survey of end users that found that fewer than one out of ten Britons actually read the terms and conditions that are attached to the products and services they buy. Here are a few other interesting stats related to that survey:

  • 12% said they would rather read the phone book.
  • 43% of those who don’t read the terms and conditions say that boredom and difficulty are two of the biggest obstacles.
  • 58% said that they would rather read an instruction manual or a bill.

That last point is particularly interesting, and it points to one of the underlying problems with online terms and conditions. The majority of the reluctance to read through the terms and conditions is the suspicion that they are ultimately useless. Even an instruction manual has more worthwhile information.

However, that same study also found that 21% of responders say they have suffered negative consequences as a result of not reading the fine print. There are certain products—such as motorcycle and car coverage—that you simply can’t afford to take any chances with. To that end, we’re going to devote the rest of this article to digesting and understanding the terms and conditions of your policies.

Do You Really Need to Read the Fine Print of Car Insurer?

It seems that many have a sneaking suspicion that you are not actually expected to read all of those terms and conditions word for word. In fact, a blogger for BusinessInsider went so far as to claim that the 56-page iTunes Terms and Conditions published by Apple wasn’t intended to be read at all—only to be agreed to.

If that’s the really the case, then what point could complex and verbose terms and conditions really serve? As it turns out, they can play an important role in court proceedings; and if you indicated that you have read them when that is not really the case, then you could be in breach of contract.

With that in mind, if you are about to sign on the dotted line with a new car or motorbike insurance provider, read the terms and conditions before you agree to the policy. Not only that—you need to readthemcarefully.

What to Expect from Car Insurer Terms and Conditions

While the T&C will certainly vary from one policy to the next, there are going to be some basic underlying similarities. In this section, we are going to define a few of the terms that you’ll encounter on almost any policy on the market.

  • Collision Coverage: Refers to the compensation that the customer will receive when they are at fault. This coverage will also take effect if you are involved in a hit-and-run, where the party that is determined to be at fault left the scene and cannot be held liable.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Refers to compensation supplied when something other than a collision causes damage to your vehicle. For example, this damage may result from the following situations:
    • Vandalism
    • Theft
    • Inclement weather
    • Natural disasters
  • Third-Party Liability Coverage: Refers to compensation paid by your insurance company to a third-party that suffered damage due to an accident in which you were at fault. This extends beyond damage to the third-party vehicle and will also cover property damage and injuries sustained by others as a result of your accident.
  • Endorsement: Something added to standard Terms and Conditions to give extra levels of protection. For example, an endorsement might be added to protect a special custom feature of your vehicle.
  • Deductible: This is the amount of money that you are responsible for paying before the coverage kicks in. The size of your deductible has a strong bearing on the premiums that you end up paying.
  • Fault: Perhaps the easiest term to decipher, ‘fault’ is assigned to the party that caused the accident.
 

About the author: Matthew Sadler

 

Matthew is a Senior Editor at Cars Edition Network and eBest Cars UK - Car Reviews.

 

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