How often do you review your car insurance coverage? If you’re like most drivers, the answer is likely “not often.” It’s a good idea to review your policy once a year to ensure you have the proper coverage in case of a car accident. What better time to go through an auto insurance policy review than the beginning of a new year.
Going through a car insurance review ensures you and your family have the proper protection in the unfortunate case of an auto accident. Too often we see accident victims without enough coverage to pay for their medical bills and lost wages. Here are some things you should review on your policy and questions to ask your insurance agent to ensure you are covered in a car crash.
Areas to Review on Your Car Insurance Policy
Auto insurance companies have different policies with coverage options to meet the needs of their customers. Some types of coverage are required by state laws and others are optional. The first place to look on your policy to see what is covered and what is excluded is your declarations page, which is typically the first page of your policy. The declarations page will provide you with a general overview of the coverages contained on your insurance policy.
Pay particular attention to the following areas within your policy to determine if you are carrying the proper coverage in case of an accident:
Liability coverage helps cover the costs of both property damage and bodily injury when you are at fault, or liable, in a car accident. In Pennsylvania, liability coverage is required at a minimum of 15/30/5, or $15,000 for injury or death of one person, $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property of another person.
Carrying the minimum liability coverage carries some risk, especially if you are at fault for a serious accident. If you do not have enough liability to cover the losses you cause, the injured person(s) could decide to pursue your personal assets and recover enough of them to satisfy their damages.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
By far, this is the most important area to review on your policy – whether you have full tort or limited tort. Some drivers opt for limited tort coverage because it is more affordable; however, it severely limits your potential to receive compensation after an auto accident. What’s the difference?
Full tort allows you to receive compensation for all economic and non-economic damages after an accident including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With limited tort, you are only eligible to receive compensation for economic damages—unless you have suffered “serious bodily injury,” as defined by Pennsylvania law, or another exception to limited tort applies to the situation—you cannot recover money for pain and suffering.
Collision and comprehensive coverage protect YOUR car in the event of an accident. Collision insurance helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle following an accident with another car or a stationary object such as a street sign or telephone pole. Comprehensive coverage applies if your car is lost or stolen or damaged by natural disasters, vandalism, or animals like deer.
Collision and comprehensive coverage are optional. Deciding whether to take out these coverages depends on the age of your vehicle, if you still owe money on a loan, and other factors.
Personal Injury Protection insurance, or PIP, is required in Pennsylvania. PIP helps pay the medical expenses of you and any passengers in your car after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry this type of coverage in the amount of $5,000 for medical benefits. Like collision and comprehensive coverage, carrying the minimum amount may present some risk in the event you or your passengers are seriously injured. Medical treatment can add up quickly, and, if you don’t have enough medical coverage through your auto policy, you probably will end up having to use your recovery from the accident to pay off any bills in excess of your coverage. This can significantly reduce the amount of money you get in your pocket following the resolution of a motor vehicle accident claim.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
Did you know that ten percent of drivers in PA are uninsured? And many more are underinsured? This is why it is critical to carry optional uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. For instance, if your economic and non-economic losses stemming from an auto accident are $250,000, but the at-fault driver only carries the minimum required liability coverage of $15,000, you will not be able to recover the remaining $235,000 in losses.
Even though you pay for UM/UIM coverage, and it is carried on your own auto insurance policy, it is well worth the cost. The other benefit to this coverage is that, because you pay premiums to your own insurance company for it, they have to be timely and reasonable in evaluating and paying your claim. Conversely, when you are dealing with the liability coverage under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, they have no fiduciary obligations to you.
These are just a few areas to review on your auto insurance policy. Unsure if you are carrying the proper coverage in the event of an accident? Our team of personal injury attorneys is always available to help you assess your policy and give you tips on what insurance you should carry—free-of—charge!
Questions to Ask Your Car Insurance Company
Car accidents can be a life-changing experience for a driver or passenger. Having the proper auto insurance coverage can give you peace of mind that you and your family are protected just in case you are injured on the road.
Your auto insurance agent is there to help and is responsible to educate you in the different options you have based on your individual and family needs as well as the value of your vehicle. Here are several questions to ask your agent when you are reviewing your policy:
- Do I have all the coverage I need?
- What discounts am I eligible for?
- What is covered if my car is in an accident and gets damaged?
- What is covered if someone is injured in an accident?
- What costs will I need to cover “out of pocket” after an accident?
- What is my deductible? My premium?
- How do I notify you of an accident?
- Are all drivers covered under my policy?
Your auto insurance agent may recommend different levels and kinds of car insurance based on your family’s needs. For example, if you have a teen or inexperienced driver in your household, you may consider adding additional liability or collision coverage. For households with a good driving record, you may consider other options.
This time of year, it’s important to review your auto insurance coverage to make sure you are protected after an accident. Talk to your agent and if needed, make changes to your policy before an accident happens.
Car Accident Lawyer in Lancaster County and Central PA
At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, we work hard to protect the rights of car accident victims in Lancaster County and central Pennsylvania. One of the easiest ways to protect your financial health in the event of a car accident is to have the proper auto insurance policy in place. Our team of attorneys and paralegals is available to give your policy a second look to make sure you are protected, with no fee or obligation.
In the unfortunate event you are in an injury car accident, contact us before you talk to the insurance company. The insurance company may offer you a settlement that is lower than what you deserve. We offer free consultations and do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Connect with us online or call 1-800-HURT-NOW.