Why You Need to Check Your Automobile Insurance Policy Now!
No doubt selecting options for your automobile insurance policy can be difficult. In the age of technology, many drivers conduct internet searches and pick the most affordable selections. Others work directly with insurance companies or their agencies. Truth be told, very few know how their plan will work if they are involved in a car crash.
Here’s a typical scenario. Sally and her husband suffer severe injuries when a passenger van strikes their vehicle from behind. When the couple prepares to meet with a personal injury attorney, the lawyer reminds them to bring along a copy of their automobile insurance declaration sheet. This document outlines the components of the policy, including the effective dates and monetary limits.
Sally gets a hold of the police report, the declaration sheet and the bills that are already starting to come to the house. In the meantime, Sally isn’t really that concerned about the medical bills. After all, she has full coverage.
Full Coverage: The Myth
Full coverage. In the insurance world, there really is no such thing as a full coverage policy. Yet, personal injury victims are under the mistaken impression that their protection is thoroughly expansive.
For purposes of this discussion, there’s the issue of paying for medical bills for providers such as doctors, hospitals, laboratories and more. Under New Jersey law, you may elect to name your health insurer as the primary source of payment. However, that idea is fraught with potential issues.
In the first place, some health care insurance plans specifically negate benefits for medical treatment related to automobile crashes. (As an aside, they also will not pay bills for work-related accidents.)
What about Medicare or Medicaid? These are both government benefits and cannot be chosen as a primary means of securing payment for personal injuries arising from accidental claims. That said, they may kick in if your bills exceed your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limits.
Automobile Insurance: PIP Coverage
According to NJSA 39:6A-4, drivers may purchase PIP coverage for payment of their medical expenses and certain other benefits. In certain cases, the PIP benefits may be available to other parties who do not have their own automobile insurance policy.
The problem is that you could think you’re saving some money by picking nominal coverage of just $15,000. It could be that you’re a gambler and figure you won’t ever get hurt in an accident. Or, that you decide to go with the idea of naming your health insurance company as primary.
All things considered, you may ultimately regret your decision. Insurance should not be a game of Russian roulette. The cost of increasing your PIP limits to $250,000 most often equates to less than a couple of dollars per week.
Meanwhile, there’s something else you should know. If your health insurance carrier pays your medical bills, they may assert a lien against any settlement or award from your personal injury lawsuit. This could substantially lessen the amount of money you recover.