gotcha: A common term for a nasty practice, the “gotcha” is no laughing matter. This punch line can sock it to you, with series of hidden exclusions and limits that ultimately threaten your ability to file a legitimate claim. Even if you’ve done your due diligence and read the fine print, you could miss clauses and statements that negate coverage in specific circumstances—usually because coverage is assumed, and language is convoluted. Whether due to a disconnect between policy wording and business practices, or because of open-to-interpretation jargon, a “gotcha” is never a welcome surprise. So ask an expert to translate, before the joke’s on you.
misselling: Prevalent within and without the insurance industry, misselling is a bad deal: products or services are sold without full disclosure of details and exclusions. Worse yet, information may be purposely hidden. It could also entail bad advice, stemming from lack of knowledge of the policy, the customer, or both. Either way, the coverage doesn’t fit the need, and consumers lose. Oftentimes commission-based payouts and corporate sales quotas are at the core: agents may be left no option but to conform. Yet another reason an independent agent has more (or less) to offer.
contributory negligence: Lurking behind those affable corporate mascots, this legal principle, cleverly employed by big-box auto insurance providers to minimize payouts, can tip the scales of liability to favor an offender and leave the victim shortchanged even when fault may be clear. The argument is that you likely did some small thing that contributed to cause and therefore share liability. It’s the other side of naming your price or saving 15%.