The majority of us have car insurance. How many of us actually know what that means? What is it we are really paying hundreds of dollars for each year? Many clients tell us after an accident that their agent told them, “you have full coverage”. What you think is full coverage and how the agent is defining full coverage may be two entirely different things.
Comprehensive and collision coverage are probably the easiest to understand. These features provide protection for physical damage to our vehicles whether caused by us or another party. One important fact worth noting here is that if you have a vehicle in which you feel is a “classic” or if you have put thousands of dollars of upgrades on your car, it is important to insure that vehicle for a “stated amount”. This means if that car is damaged or in an accident, your insurance company will pay the amount to repair or replace that car up to the stated amount for which it was insured.
Sometimes, we find ourselves on the other side of an accident where we are responsible for the property damage and/or injuries sustained by another person. Your liability coverage on your policy will pay for those damages. Each state has its own minimum requirements that each motorist must carry under its liability coverage. For example, in California, the minimum limits are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The state of Utah requires $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident. Understanding these coverages makes it easy to decide how much coverage you should carry if you are hit by an uninsured motorist or by a motorist who only carries the minimum liability limits.
Uninsured Motorist coverage protects you if you are hit by a driver without insurance. Of course, this is against the law and their license will be taken away until they can provide proof of insurance. Sadly, many people are driving without insurance and taking that risk. Choose a policy amount that you are comfortable with and understand this is the only amount you will receive no matter how extensive your medical bills or injuries are.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage protects us against a party who HAS insurance, just not enough! For example, if your injuries are extensive and your medical bills are $50,000 and the at fault driver only carries $25,000 in liability coverage, you will recover the $25,000 from his carrier and then will be able to make a claim under your Underinsured Motorist Coverage up to the limits you have chosen.
Be careful and wise in the limits you choose. No one likes to pay for insurance, but we are grateful we have it when we need to use it! Not carrying the right insurance coverage or only carrying the minimum amounts could be as big a tragedy as the accident possibly in your future.