A Jonesboro Man Wants People in Region 8 to Read Their Insurance Policies

August 9, 2005--Posted at 3:30 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR-- There aren't too many people who take the time to read their insurance policies to know exactly what it covers and what it doesn't.
Shannon Gage, a Jonesboro resident, says he knows he should have read his policy, because he has now lost almost $50,000 in water damage.
"I was selling the house to a neighbor, and he called one night to tell me I had a lot of water outside. I went to check it out, and when I opened the door, I could see there was no hope."
Shannon said there was over 2 inches of water over the floor.
"I just put down this new hard wood floor that pieces together, and it was like stepping on a floating dock."
When Shannon went upstairs, he saw where the problem began: the bathroom.
"The drain was plugged, and the water had been turned on."
His immediate instinct was the house had been vandalized, and he reported the claim to his insurance company, and then the police. From then on, it was all down hill.
Because Shannon did not read his policy thoroughly and understand all of the exclusions, he said it eliminates his insurance coverage.
"I know it was in there, but do you read your policies? Most people don't. I just wish that I would have."
He says he isn't out to get the insurance company, but he just wants to make others aware of what could happen to them.
"They write it to where you can't understand it, and then we are stuck in a situation like this."
Skip Highfill, with State Farm Insurance, said he understands that people don't read their policies, because they usually can't understand them, that's exactly why the agents are here.
"Most agents try to generate a personal relationship with their clients, because we know the details are hard to understand. We are here to explain and discuss whatever it is they don't understand."
After-the-fact, there is nothing the insurance agents can really do.
"After-the fact? No, there's not much we can do, but that's why this is so important. People really need to talk to their agents and find out what's going on."
The main reason people don't read their policies is it's hard to understand, and it's so long. We asked if there was any short cuts or something they should look at when they sign.
"Go straight to the exclusions. If you don't understand what it means, ask."
Shannon isn't worried about the vandalism, he just wants others to be aware of the contents in an insurance policy and to not make the same mistake he did.