It is not unusual when reading an insurance policy to discover that it contains certain language and then when you continue reading, you discover there is an “endorsement” that says something entirely different.
A “rider” or “endorsement” is a writing added or attached to a policy or certificate of insurance which expands or restricts its benefits or excludes certain conditions from coverage; when properly incorporated into the policy, the policy and the rider or endorsement together constitute the contract of insurance and are to be read together to determine the contract intended by the parties.1
An endorsement can either expand or restrict coverage. It is important to understand that the endorsement is not a separate contract. It is to be read with the policy and if it conflicts with the policy language, then the endorsement controls.
A “best practice” for insureds and public adjusters at the beginning of a claim is to print out the full policy and review the Declarations page carefully. Take a pencil or pen and “check off” that each endorsement listed is there. This is also important to do when the insurance company sends a “certified copy” of the policy. Taking the time to do this on the front-end is important because a missing endorsement can be the difference between coverage and no coverage, an increase in coverage or a decrease in coverage.
1 Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Lone Star Industries, Inc., 290 Conn. 767, 967 A.2d 1 (2009).