The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make When Filing a Disability Claim (Mistake #10)
Many physicians, dentists and other professionals who purchase disability insurance do not pay much attention to the policy and related documents once their application has been submitted and approved. Because of this, many of the professionals we consult with cannot find their policies when it comes time to file a claim, and many professionals are surprised to learn what their policies say, because they didn’t read them carefully when they first received them.
Ed Comitz’s article “The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make When Filing a Claim for Disability,” published by SEAK, Inc. (2005), details ten of the most significant mistakes to avoid. The excerpt below explains why you should keep copies of all of your insurance documents:
MISTAKE NO. 10: Tossing Out Application, Policy, and Claims Documents
From the time of application forward, physicians should keep copies of everything (including notes from meeting with the insurer’s sale representative or agent, the policy application, and the policy itself). If the sales representative provided a letter or verbal representation that the physician jotted down, those notes can go a long way if the insurer says that the policy says something different. Similarly, information that the physician provided on the application may have a bearing on his or her reasonable expectations at the time of purchase.
Action Step: Physicians should keep all of the disability insurance papers and notes in an organized file.
If you end up losing your policy, you do have a right to request a duplicate copy from your insurer. However, it can take several weeks for insurers to process these requests, and your insurer may also use the request as an opportunity to interview you before you know what your policy says, and before you have a chance to speak with a disability insurance attorney about your claim.
Depending on your condition and the progression of your symptoms, if you don’t keep a copy of your policy, you may also be forced to decide whether you are going to file a claim without a complete understanding of what your policy says. This is not a position you want to be in, and it is therefore best to keep all of your policy documents so that you have them on hand if you need them.
To learn more about some of the tactics insurers use to deny claims and other mistakes to avoid, click here.