We see many contracts throughout our lifetime, whether it is from the sale or purchase of a home, obtaining car insurance, or signing a claim that we are filing. It is always a good idea to read the contract through very thoroughly and even have your attorney look it over before you sign to ensure that you are signing something that will not come back to haunt you later.
Rule number one to signing a contract is never to feel rushed or pressured to sign. Often this is the reason that is given when people are asked why they signed the contract before reading it. However, reading is a vital step unless you are ready and willing to face any consequences later.
“Standard” Contracts and What to Consider Before Signing
A lot of people in an attempt to gain a signature faster will tell you that the contract you are about to sign is “standard.” However, this is never the case. While some government contracts may be standard, other contracts such as insurance company contracts, are far from standard.
Before signing, be sure that everything you were told verbally is also in writing including any terms or conditions that had been previously discussed and agreed upon. You will also want to make sure that there are no blank spaces found within the contract or any areas that have been crossed off.
Also, never be afraid to tell them you want to take it home to examine it a bit closer before signing. A second opinion at this point, as mentioned earlier, is also recommended.
Make sure to make a copy of everything you are signing so you will have it for your own records in case something was to arise later. When it comes to anything being contested or anything to do with an insurance claim that is being filed, you will want this information readily available to you.
The bottom line of the matter is that a contract is drawn up as a means of protecting all parties involved. Therefore, each party will want to ensure that their own interests are being considered and taken into account before signing.
When it comes to signing an insurance policy, for example, it is important that you understand all the policy definitions that are included in the contract and make sure that you establish a clear understanding of the key terms being used.
Understanding the key terms may also provide you with a better idea of any exclusions that are within the policy because the insurance company will often use the definitions and terms to limit the meaning of the words being used and the definitions given may not always be adequate enough to describe all exclusions.
Ambiguous wording is also another concern when it comes to insurance policy contracts and the parties involved may not always agree on and interpret the language being used in the contract the same way; this leads to the existence of ambiguous wording. If there is more than one way to interpret a certain word or phrase, it is important that you discuss the actual meaning before signing the contract so that it can be rephrased.
The fine print, the terms and definitions, and all the other little elements that may be overlooked all play a crucial role in determining the future consequences of signing a contract you have not taken the time to read and understand.
Whenever you are in doubt, seek the help of a qualified and professional attorney to help you weed through the wording and ensure that what you are signing is just as fair for you as it is for the company asking for the signature.