Homeowners insurance bill in New Jersey requires policy rewrites

New Jersey homeowners insurance law

New Jersey homeowners insurance lawFollowing Superstorm Sandy, a new proposal would mean that coverage would be easier to understand.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4, Washington Township) is the primary sponsor of a New Jersey bill that would require homeowners insurance companies to lose the industry jargon in the wording of their policies, in favor of a “plain English” alternative.

This would allow the details of the coverage to be easier for policyholders to understand.

The bill, A3642, requires that homeowners insurance policies that are renewed, initially issued, or delivered within the state of New Jersey must also contain a brochure that would provide policyholders with information about their coverage that is “written in simple, clear, understandable, and easily readable way.”

The hope is to avoid the types of homeowners insurance misunderstandings that occurred after Sandy.

The brochure would be required to explain the homeowners insurance company’s deductible program for hurricane coverage, its flooding coverage, and must also have a one-page summary of the policy in its entirety as well as all of the terms of the policy.

According to Moriarty “We saw with Hurricane Sandy, in the aftermath, so many people were confused by what the homeowners insurance policy covered and what it did not.” He went on to explain that “We have to get away from these 20 pages of language and jargon only lawyers and judges can understand.”

The bill had four total primary sponsors in the Assembly. They felt that the measure would help to reduce the issues that have been occurring between customers and their insurers by helping to reduce a great deal of the confusion that exists about the coverage itself. Moriarty said that he anticipates some level of resistance from the companies, though there has not been any level of protest from the insurers as of yet.

He said that there will likely be resistance from homeowners insurance companies strictly because the majority of the policies are “written by attorneys, and written in the most favorable light for the insurance company.” In January, the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 75-0. It was received by the Senate this week and will need to undergo a vote on the Senate floor as its next step.

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