Review Insurance Before a Car Accident

Local injury attorneys have seen an alarming increase in the number car accidents caused by drivers with very low auto insurance coverage. What this means for accident victims is that the driver who caused their accident probably won’t have enough insurance to compensate them for their injuries.

Unfortunately, a seriously or catastrophically injured person does not have much recourse against a driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance coverage.

Worse, it’s usually after they’ve been injured that crash victims find out their own auto policies don’t offer the “full coverage” they thought they had.

Recently a young mother and her daughter were driving through an intersection when a driver made a left turn and t-boned their vehicle. The mother suffered a severe leg fracture.

The driver who caused the car accident had a minimal policy of $15,000, which is all the mother was able to collect, even though her medical expenses exceeded $75,000.

Our office reviewed the mother’s auto insurance policy in the hopes she had underinsured motorist and medical payments coverage.

She did not have med pay, which would have helped with medical expenses and liens that were filed against her settlement, but she did have underinsured motorist coverage. She also had a minimal policy, so even though she had suffered a catastrophic injury, the most she was able to collect from her UIM claim was another $15,000.

Keep in mind that when purchasing auto insurance, you want to make sure you protect yourself and your loved ones in case of a car accident.

We recommend you add uninsured, underinsured and medical payments to your policy, and that you give serious consideration to the amounts of coverage you need for adequate protection.

Take the example of a single-income parent working as a hair stylist who suffers a shoulder injury in a motor vehicle accident. An absence of several months from work or an inability to ever return to her job could have dire financial consequences.

Such person will be well advised to carry at least $100,000 in UM and UIM coverage, and at least $5,000 in medical payments. The cost is relatively low compared to liability premiums.

Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you if the person who injures you does not have any auto insurance; underinsured motorist coverage kicks in if the person who causes the accident does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries; medical payments reimburses you for accident-related medical expenses. It’s a good idea to add med pay to your auto policy even if you have medical insurance.

The words “full coverage” as they relate to auto insurance are meaningless unless you review your policy’s Declarations Page and determine what it covers if you’re the victim of a car crash.

Take a few minutes to review our previous blog posts to learn more about Auto Insurance Terms, and why you should carry Uninsured, Underinsured and Medical Payments coverage.

A few more considerations about UM, UIM and Med Pay: using this coverage will not increase your insurance premiums, and it is transferable to any relative related by blood or marriage who is living in the same household as the policy holder.

Making sure you’re adequately covered by auto insurance in case you’re the victim of a car accident is smart planning.

Why You Need Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Purchasing auto insurance is one of those activities that most consumers don’t put much thought into. They know they have buy auto insurance because the law requires it.

Most consumers either call their family insurance agent, or the insurance company with the most clever TV commercial. But not putting much thought into your car insurance purchase could have dire consequences if you are injured in an auto accident. Uninsured auto insurance coverage is something people often overlook.

Typically, consumers buying car insurance tell their insurance agent they want “full coverage.” Their policies will be written so that they are protected should they be at fault for an accident.

However, we frequently see problems when consumers do not request additional coverage in case they are injured in an auto accident by a person who is not insured (uninsured) or does not have adequate insurance (underinsured). Unfortunately, during an economic downturn, this problem is even more pronounced, with more people driving around with little or no insurance coverage.

Uninsured (UM) coverage will protect you if you are injured by someone who does not have insurance; Underinsured (UIM) coverage will protect you if you are injured by someone who does not have enough liability insurance to adequately compensate you for the injuries they caused you in an auto accident.

Your policy should include coverage for UM, UIM, and Medical Payments (Med Pay). The policy limits for UM/UIM will depend on the coverage you selected on your policy. We recommend that you carry as much coverage as you can reasonably afford, but if at all possible, you should request policy limits of no less than $100,000/$300,000. If you can afford higher limits, by all means you should increase these limits. Med Pay should be at minimum $5,000.

Declarations Page

We urge you to review the Declarations Page of your auto insurance policy for UM, UIM and Med Pay coverage. Make an appointment with your insurance agent to add coverage in these three areas if they are not included in your policy.

This information is provided by the Hollingsworth Kelly law firm to help you select the right coverage for your auto insurance needs. All too often, we see people who are injured by someone who does not have adequate insurance coverage. All insurance decisions should be discussed with your auto insurance agent so that you can make an informed decision to best suit your needs. This information is not intended to serve as legal advice.