Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey Allstate, The Real Mayhem Is (Buried) In Your Auto Policy

We've all seen Allstate's "Mayhem" commercials. Pretty clever and somewhat humerous. The message is that mayhem lurks everywhere and an Allstate policy will sweep in and protect you. Here's the problem: Ohio personal injury lawyers like me have actually had occasion to read theirs and dozens of other auto policies (about as exciting as a dental cleaning, but it comes with the territory--it's what we do).

So let's test the accuracy of their marketing premise in the real world, borrowing from their theme.

I am an Allstate auto policy. You probably purchased me after seeing all of our clever commercials (no comment on how much we spend on advertising every year). You probably called an agent, who gave you a quote, asked you to fill out some paperwork, told you that you bought a "full coverage" policy, and I arrived in the mail weeks later. You stuffed me in the drawer with all your other "important papers."

But I am full of some mayhem of my own while I am sleeping in your drawer. Call it "fine print" mayhem. Here's what my fine print says: there's no coverage under my policy for "bodily injury to any person related to an insured person by blood, marriage, or adoption and residing in that person's household."

What does this mean? If you allow your son to drive your Allstate insured vehicle while you're a passenger and he wrecks the car, seriously injuring you, there's no coverage for his driving negligence, your lost wages, and your permanent injuries.

Basically it means this: if one family member wrecks the Allstate insured car and injures other family members, all Allstate "insureds," there is no coverage for anything but medical bills up to the limits of your Allstate "medical payments" coverage ( usually $5,000,assuming you bought medical payments coverage). So, if your family's medical bills are $200,000 take our $5,000 "med pay" coverage and multiply it by the number of family members with medical bills of $5,000 or greater and that's all we owe you. My little exclusion means no compensation for the rest of your family's losses.

Now here's what all the "Mayhem" commercials won't tell you. Many Ohio insurance companies, like Nationwide, Grange, Motorists, and Central Mutual don't have this exclusion! If you had one of those policies, all of your injured family's losses would be covered either under (1) the Liability or (2) the Uninsured Motorists' portion of the policy.

Mayhem can be sneaky, can't it?

To learn more about fine print exclusions in your policy before you ever need to use your insurance policy, visit our website
or our blog home page and order our FREE book: "Fully Exposed: How Ohio Insurance Companies Are Stripping Your Auto Policy."

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