Ruminations of an Injury Attorney – Part 2
The Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda of Auto Insurance Coverage
As discussed in Part 1, I am a frequent witness to the displeasure and disappointment of our personal injury 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 more examples of the rude awakenings I have seen:
Rental Car Coverage
This coverage can be very helpful to have on your own policy, in case the insurance company for the at-fault party drags their feet or tries to give you the run-around. Sometimes, even if the at-fault driver admitted to you at the scene of the collision that it was their fault or it is just very obvious they caused the collision, the insurance company for them will want to complete its investigation before agreeing to cover any rental car expenses, which can sometimes take weeks. Still other times, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will want you to first pay for your own rental car and promise to reimburse you for it later. Rental car coverage will help in these situations and more, and is usually pretty inexpensive compare with the other components of your automobile coverage. Be sure to pay attention to the daily amount authorized so that you are able to get a rental vehicle comparable to your regular vehicle, especially if you have multiple children or require special accommodations.
UM/UIM Property Damage Deductible Waiver
Discovering that you do not have this coverage will probably get the biggest rise out of you. Imagine you have just been injured in an collision that was not your fault, and that the driver of the other vehicle does not have insurance, or enough insurance, to cover your injuries. Not only that, but now your car is damaged and your insurance company is requiring you to pay a deductible in order to get it repaired. Talk about adding insult to injury. However, having this feature or coverage on your policy will give you a pass from this headache, and allow you to get your car fixed under your policy without having to pay your deductible.
Be sure to review Part I concerning uninsured/underinsured motorist and medical payments coverage, and keep watching for Part III, where I talk about gap insurance and bodily injury/property damage limits.