What You Need to Know about Your Auto Insurance Policy
Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality check. When it comes to an auto insurance policy, it’s a rare driver that actually understands what’s in it. Most figure that “full coverage” means they are completely protected in case of a car crash. Meanwhile, a bad accident can turn out to be a real wake-up call.
For starters, there is the issue of what many motor vehicle operators consider “full coverage.” It is entirely possible to have a car completely insured, with too little insurance. Therefore, it’s extremely important to understand some of the major parts of your policy.
Car Insurance Terms
Just about everyone has heard of liability coverage. In fact, since New Jersey is a No Fault state, liability insurance may seem confusing. Let’s start with an example. Unfortunately, you thought you could make it through a light that was just changing to red. In doing so, you crashed into a car whose driver had the green light.
Assuming that the other motor vehicle operator had severe injuries, a claim may be made against your insurance company. If you have a minimal insurance, this could prove to be a problem. Your policy limits might only go to $15,000. The insurance adjuster could decide to offer the policy limits.
Notwithstanding, the other driver may be able to collect additional money from their own underinsured motorist coverage. Hopefully, it would be enough to cover the value of the claim. Otherwise, you could wind up with a lien against real estate or other property in your name.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Both Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverages are integral to your insurance policy. The terms are self-explanatory and are based on the assumption that the car crash was not your fault. First, there is a provision for an accident that occurs with an uninsured driver. Next, there is coverage for accidents that are the fault of a motor vehicle operator with less coverage than you.
Consider our previous example. If you suffered catastrophic injuries, you would be less than happy to learn that the at-fault driver had only $15,000 to cover your losses. Or worse yet, to learn that the crash was caused by someone driving without insurance.
Personal Injury Protection
If you are injured in an automobile accident, medical care becomes a primary concern. In some cases, your health insurance will cover medical bills for automobile accidents. Notwithstanding, some health carriers have exclusions when it comes to car crashes. This includes both Medicare and Medicaid. Always check before choosing a healthcare primary option.
In addition to affording medical bill payment, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides benefits for the following:
- Income Continuation – Partial reimbursement for lost wages
- Essential Services – Payment for assistance you may need at home
- Death Benefit
- Funeral Expense Benefit
The Right to Sue
You should know that your own auto insurance policy significantly affects your right to sue. In a prior article, we wrote about the difference between the verbal and zero thresholds. The terminology is more recently updated to reflect the contrast between the unlimited right to sue and the limited right to sue.
In short, the unlimited right to sue means that you can sue for any type of injury. The limited right to sue requires that your injuries fall into at least one of these categories:
- Loss of Body Part
- Significant Disfigurement or Significant Scarring
- Displaced Fracture
- Loss of a Fetus
- Permanent Injury (Meaning that body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment based on objective medical proof}
Obviously, some of these categories are quite distinct in the requirements as far as the right to sue. Notwithstanding, you should never make assumptions and always discuss your injuries with an experienced personal injury attorney.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we will gladly review your automobile policy if you have concerns about your selections. Of course, if you were injured in a car accident, we would be glad to help you with your claim. Contact us to schedule an appointment.