An insurance disclaimer is a legal statement outlining the responsibilities of a person or agency providing information about insurance, with the goal of reducing legal liability. Insurance disclaimers are usually used by government agencies concerned with insurance and consumer protection so consumers are aware of the limitations of the services offered, and they are also included in communications between insurance companies or agents and their customers. The disclaimer should be read carefully, as it may include details on the rights and responsibilities of the insurance consumer.
In an example of an insurance disclaimer, when an agent generates a quote for a prospective customer, the quote will include a statement noting that it is only a quote, not an offer of coverage, and that no coverage is provided until the customer enters into a contract with the insurance company. The disclaimer would also note that the price of the policy may change if additional information about the customer or the object being insured surfaces. This statement is usually generated automatically when the quote is printed, and insurance agents can select from a number of templates for different applications.
The disclaimer limits liability by making the responsibilities of the issuer of the statement very clear. For instance, if someone applies for car insurance and receives a quote without disclosing a major accident, that person cannot turn around and sue when the price of the policy goes up after the insurance agency finds out about the accident, because the insurance disclaimer specifically covers such situations.
The insurance disclaimer can also provide information about responsibilities the client has, such as an obligation to act on an insurance quote within a set period of time, to fully disclose relevant information, and to respond to communications from the insurer in a timely fashion. If people do not follow through on these responsibilities, the insurer does not accept liability for the consequences.
Information in an insurance disclaimer can be useful to have. In cases where people are asked to sign legal documents with a disclaimer, they should read the statement carefully, as signing indicates their acceptance of the disclaimer. If they later take the insurer to court, the signed statement can be used against them as an argument that they should have known about an issue brought up in the disclaimer. If a disclaimer is not clear, consumers can ask to have it explained in plain language or can request a copy for review by an attorney before signing anything.