Auto policies are often a source of confusion and misunderstanding by consumers. Most people know that they are required by law to have liability insurance coverage since you can’t renew your car registration without proof of insurance. The state mandates minimum auto liability insurance coverages. Liability coverage protects you against claims by others against you in the event you negligently cause an accident resulting in damages to someone else. But there is so much more to an auto insurance policy.
The state also requires that auto insurance carriers include uninsured and underinsured coverage (UM/UIM) in their policy UNLESS the consumer rejects that coverage in writing. UM/UIM covers you in the event you are injured by an uninsured driver or your damages exceed the liability limits available in the negligent driver’s liability policy. I suggest you seriously consider buying the UM/UIM coverage. On countless occasions I have a met with prospective clients who are injured after being involved in a crash caused by the other driver’s negligence. However, the negligent driver is uninsured because he forgot to pay his premium last month, or the policy came up for renewal but that did not occur for some reason. In those circumstances, unless you have UM/UIM coverage, there is likely no source from which you can recover for your medical bills, lost earnings and other damages even though the wreck was caused by the other driver’s negligence. Protect yourself from this all too common problem. Buy UM/UIM coverage. Yes, it will cost a little more, but when you need that coverage it can be a life saver.
Auto insurance policies can also provide you coverage for your medical bills or wage loss up to an agreed limit through coverage known as personal injury protection (PIP). PIP oftentimes helps you pay unexpected medical expenses resulting from a car crash even when the other driver has liability insurance. Many people elect to buy PIP because it provides them peace of mind. Med pay coverage also provides you a similar benefit but for medical expenses only.
Additionally, policies can provide death benefits and coverage for damage to your automobile in the event you are in a crash with an uninsured driver.
Remember, not all policies are created equal. Discuss your options and their costs with your auto insurance carrier when you are looking for auto insurance. Be informed. That way you can make the best decision possible. You may be glad you did!