Posted May 6, 2010 12:57am by attorney Charles Field
I handle a lot of personal injury cases. Theses are mostly automobile collision cases. Before you get into a collision, you should know what types of coverage are available to you. Your agent can explain further.
I especially invite your careful attention to Uninsured Motorist coverage. This can protect you if the at-fault driver has no or little liability coverage.
Types of Coverage
Everyone who drives needs car insurance. In fact, most states require it by law. When you buy car insurance, you are buying what is called a "policy." Your policy is based on a variety of factors including what kind of car you drive as well as what kind of insurance you want. Auto insurance policies are actually a package of different types of insurance coverage.
The first step in understanding an auto insurance policy is to learn the various types of coverage insurance companies offer. Some of this coverage may be required by your state and some of the coverage may be optional.
Liability - This coverage pays for accidental bodily injury and property damages to others. Injury damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Property damage includes damaged property and automobiles. This coverage also pays defense and court costs. State laws determine how much liability coverage you must purchase, but you can always get more coverage than your state requires.
Collision - This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or object.
Comprehensive - This coverage pays for loss or damage to the insured vehicle that doesn't occur in an auto accident. The types of damages comprehensive insurance covers include loss caused by fire, wind, hail, flood, vandalism
Medical Coverage - Med-Pay pays medical expenses regardless of fault when the expenses are caused by an auto accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required in some states. This coverage pays medical expenses for the insured driver, regardless of fault, for treatment due to an auto accident.
Uninsured Motorist - UIM pays your car's damages when an auto accident is caused by a driver who doesn't have liability insurance.
Underinsured Motorist - UM pays your car's damages when an auto accident is caused by someone who has insufficient liability insurance.
Rental Reimbursement - This type of coverage will pay for a rental car if your car is damaged due to an auto accident. Often this coverage has a daily allowance for a rental car.
Umbrella Insurance Policy - The umbrella policy allows for extra liability. It is a policy in excess to your auto or homeowners' policy. The need for an umbrella is more prevalent than than you may think. An umbrella insurance policy protects you against claims, that your current carrier does not fully cover. For example, what if you are sued for a $500,000 claim, because you cause someone to become a quadriplegic, but have $300,000 worth of liability per occurrence? You may be coming out your pocket. Your auto insurance policy's liability does not cover the total cost of the accident. The umbrella policy coverage would extend beyond the liability of your auto or homeowners insurance policy.
Know Your Needs
Just because your state requires a minimum amount of insurance doesn't mean that's exactly what you should purchase. In fact, most motorists purchase more coverage than their state requires so that they are covered for a variety of problems -- not simply a fender bender.