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What Is a Manuscript Policy?

A lot goes into buying an insurance policy. You have to decide what types of coverage you need, how high your insurance limits should be, what levels of premiums and deductibles you can afford, and whom you should select as your insurer. And while many of us can get by with a one-size-fits-all type of plan, others might have more specific needs that require a manuscript policy. Read on to learn about manuscript policies and how they provide specialized insurance coverage.

Manuscript Policy Defined

A manuscript policy is an insurance policy or endorsement (add-on provision) that is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the insured. A standard policy includes standard terms applicable to a wide array of people, and the only part that really varies from insured to insured is the information found on the declaration page. The manuscript policy, on the other hand, is custom made for a particular person or purpose, and has been negotiated by the insurer and the insured. This type of policy is more common among large commercial accounts or people exposed to special types of risk.

Why Would You Need a Manuscript Policy?

A manuscript policy might be written to include special types of coverage or to add certain conditions. There are a number of reasons people choose manuscript policies over standard insurance contracts, including the following:

  • State Law: Some insureds need specialized language and terms in order to comply with state law that applies to their particular situation.
  • Special Risk Exposure: Unusual risks or specialized property may create the need for a manuscript policy, like the policy used to insure Jamie Lee Curtis’s legs.
  • Overbroad Standard Policy: An insured or insurer may decide that the terminology used in a standard policy is overbroad with respect to the needs of the insured.

The Risks of Using a Manuscript Policy

While a tailored, custom-made policy might help you achieve the exact coverage you need, there are some risks associated with the use of a manuscript insurance policy. First, some manuscript policies don’t use industry-standard terminology, so they may include terms or provisions that affect your coverage in significant ways, and possibly to your disadvantage. Similarly, non-standard terminology has not been tested through the years or the courts, so it may contain ambiguous provisions which lead to expensive litigation.

Additionally, states differ in their insurance laws. regarding manuscript form reporting policies. Generally, insurance companies are required to file information regarding their rates and insurance forms with their state’s department of insurance. However, some states do not require manuscript policies or endorsements to be filed with the state if they are issued to only one insured, while others cap the amount at three insureds. This means that those policies are not as heavily regulated as more standard types of policies. Because of the looser filing requirements and the risks associated with non-standard contract provisions, it’s important to have an independent agent or insurance attorney review your manuscript policy before you sign it.

Get Help Understanding Your Policy and Protecting Your Rights

Even though you’ve purchased insurance, you probably hope you’ll never need to use it. If some unfortunate event does occur, you shouldn’t have to battle your insurance company over a legitimate claim. Thankfully, there are many laws requiring insurers to act in good faith, protecting the consumer from unfair insurance practices. If your claim has been denied, or you suspect bad faith on the part of your insurer, contact an experienced, local insurance attorney who can help explain and defend your insurance rights.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney to assist with
any issues related to insurance.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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