Ruminations of an Injury Attorney – Part 1
The Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda of Auto Insurance Coverage
As a personal injury attorney handling auto accident cases, I am a frequent to the displeasure and disappointment of clients when they learn the hard way that they do not have the automobile insurance coverage they believed or desired. Once the accident or other covered event has occurred, they are most often stuck with the coverage(s) in effect on that date.
Of course, it is in your best interest to consult with your insurance company or agent about your policy to get recommendations for your coverages and limits, and to review your policy and declarations page(s) carefully. Hopefully, that will save you some grief in the future. However, as food for thought, here are a few examples of the rude awakenings I have seen:
1) Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This is the coverage you have to protect yourself and maybe even your passengers in case someone who causes you injuries is either uninsured (no valid insurance coverage in effect on that date) or underinsured (not enough insurance coverage to take care of the injuries sustained). Sometimes, people will waive this coverage or request a lower limit because they are trying to get the lowest insurance payment possible. However, this is insurance coverage to protect yourself! It’s the only way to ensure (and insure) that you and your passengers will be taken care of should someone harm you more than they are covered for.
2) Medical Payments Coverage
This is a coverage designed to reimburse you and your passengers for out of pocket medical expenses. Many times, people do not purchase this coverage when they already have some kind of medical or health insurance policy (through their employer or MediCare, for example). However, this is also insurance coverage to protect yourself. If you are injured and have no health or medical insurance, it is extremely helpful. However, there are many situations where, even if you have medical insurance, your out of pocket expenses can become extremely burdensome: you have a large Emergency Room co-pay; your health insurance does not cover your ambulance ride (usually around $1,300.00 or more); you have a high deductible that has not been met; or your co-pays accumulate because you have multiple appointments (physical therapy, 3 times a week for 4 weeks, for example). These expenses can be especially overwhelming if you are unable to work as a result of your injuries.
Keep watching for Part II, where I will discuss rental car coverage and UM/UIM property damage deductible waivers, and Part III, where I talk about gap insurance and bodily injury/property damage limits.
Published By: Sara Morgan, Esq.