Protect Yourself with the Right Car Insurance Coverage
Regardless of how carefully you drive, it is likely you will be involved in at least one vehicle collision during your lifetime—and your chances of suffering serious or fatal harm are greater than you might think. One person in three will be killed or injured in a crash, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. More common than fatal collisions, auto accidents resulting in injury can prove painful and have equally economically devastating results if you are inadequately insured. It is more important than ever to protect yourself with the right car insurance coverage.
The type and limits of your car insurance coverage can make or break your economic situation, whether you’re at-fault or not.
Recently, the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident retained our office. He was injured. His car was totaled. Like many motorists, our client had the bare minimum liability coverage. Thankfully, he did carry uninsured motorist insurance, which provided $15,000 that would cover his medical expenses, wage loss and pain and suffering.
While his medical treatment likely will not exceed this limit, he could not seek immediate medical attention because he lacked Medical Payments (MedPay) insurance, which would have allowed him to seek treatment earlier. He could not recover payment for his vehicle because his policy lacked Collision Coverage. In addition, he lacked car rental insurance, leaving him walking or taking the bus to work. He quickly lost one of his jobs.
In purchasing the state minimum for auto insurance, you’re insuring yourself—physically and financially—for zero.
Average Economic Cost per Death, Injury, or Crash, 2011 (National Safety Council)
Nonfatal Disabling Injury $78,700
Property Damage Crash (including nondisabling injuries) $9,100
Adequate Auto Insurance Coverage Can Protect You
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage:
Uninsured motorist coverage covers your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage ensures your accident-related medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering damages are paid if the other driver’s insurance in insufficient to cover them. The at-fault driver’s car insurance would pay out to its maximum, and your auto insurance would cover the remaining bills up to your policy limit.
Medical Payments (MedPay): Your medical expenses and your passenger’s will be paid up to the policy limit irrespective of fault. In most cases, MedPay is utilized after consideration of your health insurance.
Collision: This coverage pays to repair your vehicle after an accident. If your car is deemed totaled, you will receive the cash value of your car.
Rental Reimbursement: The cost of the rental car will be paid up to a certain length of time, usually a month.
Paying more for adequate car insurance coverage can minimize the impact of an auto accident on your life.
In a state where one in three people will be killed or injured in a crash and 15% of motorists were uninsured as of 2009 (Insurance Research Council), opting for minimum liability insurance exposes you to tremendous risk.
Consider the outcome of a medium-sized accident with an uninsured driver, an underinsured driver, or a driver who fled the scene. You’re injured. You’re car is totaled. In the absence of this additional car insurance coverage, you may have no recourse.
Even if the driver has insurance and is found to be at-fault, the at-fault driver could fight the claim—and they often do. We see far too many cases in which insurers offer unfair settlements knowing that the claim is not large enough to be litigated over, leaving accident victims at a loss.
In many cases, additional auto insurance coverage is within your financial reach: MedPay for up to $5,000 and car rental coverage for up to one month cost on average $20 for six months each; uninsured motorist coverage usually costs about half the price of liability insurance. With this coverage, you don’t have to wait for someone else’s decision to have your car fixed, to see the doctor, and to move forward with your life.
Additional information on auto insurance, auto accidents, and the civil claims process is available to the public free of charge through our office.
If you would like to request a free book or article, or to speak with a California injury lawyer, feel free to call 866-981-5596 or contact us online.