Peggy Barnhardt: Insurance jargon: English or not?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 6, 2019

Peggy Barnhardt

Progressive Casualty Insurance Company has a dramatic, curiously comical commercial on TV, speaking to the need of a translator to decipher insurance jargon as though it were a foreign language.
Written in English, dictionary at hand, with marginal intellect coupled with logical reasoning, you would think an understanding of terms could be achieved.
“I see,” said the blind man, but no, LOL.
“What does loss of use mean” to the house insurance industry? I found out when hurricane Michael struck, knocking down a tree in my back yard. The tree landed on a power line, the weight of which ripped the power box right off of my house.
Consequently I was out of electricity, water and bathroom facilities [as my well has an electric pump] for five days. We went to a hotel as my husband has medical equipment that must be monitored.
Duke energy finally arrived, cutting the tree from the line and leaving the whole tree in my yard that was now gutted with deep furled tire tracks from their heavy trucks in the wet sod. The power box was repaired and reattached but the siding they removed was left on the ground.
I filed my home-owner’s insurance claim; surely I could not stay in a house with no utilities or facilities, spoiled food etc. Does this not constitute loss of use?
Enter the Translator: If the tree does not directly hit your house they pay nothing; Duke Energy doesn’t do tree removal no matter how big of a mess they make to free their lines or damage your lawn; unless your walls fall down around you, hotel reimbursement is not in the cards; and a special rider is needed to cover food spoilage. The bottom line is — the claims adjuster is not your advocate.
The big corporate giant tries to blame God for your hurricane damage and acts as if you are an atheist if you don’t adhere to that thought. Premium payments matter not.
I don’t know if all companies are the same, but I intend to shop around, and delve more deeply for the explanation of what seems to be general terminology that apparently does not conform to normal reasoning.
Lessons come hard after a disaster. Shoulda, coulda, woulda are no comfort, the time is now for research.
Think about it.

Peggy Ann Barnhardt lives in Salisbury

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