September 2012 - Pg 11–Attorney Question
We don’t acquire theft insurance coverage on the premise that we intend to have our homes or vehicles invaded and our property illegally taken. Nor do we acquire it for the purpose of “staging” a theft to perpetrate a fraud on an insurer. We seek this coverage “in case” our homes and/or vehicles are violated and we need to protect our families from financial damage that we might otherwise suffer as a result of that theft.
We don’t acquire homeowner’s liability coverage on the premise that we intend to have a friend or family member intentionally slip and fall or otherwise suffer grievous injury in order to realize an ill-gotten windfall. We seek this coverage “in case” some devastating occurrence happens and we need to protect our homes and families from financial ruin that might otherwise result from a legal claim (legitimate or otherwise) being levied against us.
If we don’t own a home, we don’t need this coverage (although we sorely tempt fate by not getting the equivalent renter’s insurance coverage).
We don’t acquire automobile liability and collision coverage on the premise that we intend to intentionally strike a person or object with our automobiles. We seek this coverage “in case” some devastating occurrence happens and we need to protect our homes and families from financial ruin that might otherwise result from a legal claim being levied against us, or simply need to protect ourselves from the loss incumbent with an automobile collision, whether our fault or not. If we don’t own or lease an automobile, we don’t need this form of protection and we waste our monies by acquiring it.
We don’t acquire fire insurance on the premise that we intend to set our homes afire in order to recover fire-loss damages. We seek this coverage “in case” our homes are damaged or destroyed and we need to protect our families from financial ruin and being forced to live on the streets should we suffer such a loss.
If we don’t own a home, we don’t require this coverage and so we don’t acquire it. If we do own a home, we are foolhardy for not getting it.
In short, we acquire different types of insurance coverage to protect us from financial loss in the event that we suffer such an unexpected loss. Indeed, many of us who are forced into a situation where we need legal representation at some time or another wonder why insurance coverage for legal representation is not as prevalent as coverage for medical, theft, liability, collision and fire. It is not unknown for some people to purchase “prepaid legal insurance” coverage in the event that we DO need this form of financial protection. However, legal representation insurance coverage is not a “common” need, nor is it a need that affects a fundamental aspect of virtually everyone’s lives. Consequently, there is not an overwhelming demand for this form of protection and, as such, insurers do not generally offer this protection (ostensibly because there is not a large enough market for it to warrant a business decision to offer it on a general basis). Although some business liability policies DO include this type of protection, it is the exception rather than the rule (and frequently comes at a significant premium cost).
In sum, ALL insurance is some form of protection, and acquisition of that protection does not imply an intended future bad act or other fraudulent intent. As such, someone who lawfully possesses firearms and may need one in the event of a life-threatening occurrence (such as shooting an invader in the family home), is exercising fiscal prudence by acquiring insurance that is designed to make whole a loss (read: legal fees) resulting from the exercise of that right.
Editor’s Note: While it is important not to confuse Network membership benefits with insurance, the analogy is certainly apt. Responses from our Network affiliated attorneys to this particular question were numerous. We will wrap up the responses to this question in the October edition of the journal, then move on to another line of inquiry the following month.
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