Most people don’t consider their automobile insurance often, and some don’t have a good understanding of what their policies cover or mean. I want you to think about taking the time to review your own coverage so that if an accident should arise, you are well-informed and secure in the knowledge that you have what you need. Do you really have ‘full coverage’? Do you really have coverage that suits you? What your insurance agent defines as full coverage is typically liability insurance (both bodily injury and property damage), collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. My question to you, though, is even if you have what is commonly termed ‘full coverage’, is your coverage in adequate amounts?
About every six months you should get a declarations page from your insurance company. This contains your policy information. It more than likely lists the types of coverage you have, as well as the dollar amounts of each of them. If you don’t have a current declarations page, then you can typically find one via the internet if you handle your insurance account(s) online.
Usually the first type of coverage listed will be “Liability/Bodily Injury”; it’s one of the most valuable aspects of car insurance. When you have liability and bodily injury coverage, if you are in a collision with someone and a person is injured, this type of insurance will pay toward their medical expenses. For instance, let’s say you have $25,000 of coverage. If someone you were in a car wreck with files a claim with your insurance agent, then the insurance company will pay the claim up to that $25,000. If the other party decides (for whatever reason) to sue, then your insurer will provide you with an attorney free of charge under the ‘duty to defend’ in accordance with your insurance contract with them.
The second type of coverage listed is typically ‘Liability Property Damage’. This coverage is responsible for any damages you may cause to the property of others. You might run into a neighbor’s wall or another driver’s car. Your insurance company adjuster will investigate, appraise any damage, and pay for it up to your policy limits.
So you see, liability coverage is just to protect your pockets when you have caused harm to a person and/or their property with your vehicle. I recommend that you have a minimum of $100,000 in coverage per person.
Also listed will be ‘Comprehensive and Collision’, and these are frequently misunderstood. Collision coverage pays for repairs to your own vehicle and is required on all vehicles that you’ve financed or leased. With collision, you pay your deductible and the insurance company pays the rest up to your policy limits. If you set a higher deductible for yourself, you’ll save a good bit of money in premiums while still protecting yourself against huge financial risk.
Comprehensive coverage is protection against a variety of damages and circumstances. When you have comprehensive coverage, you are insured in case of things such as theft, vandalism, and acts of nature like flooding, hail or other storm damage. Comprehensive is typically only recommended for cars that are less than ten years old or high in monetary value.
There are a couple of other types of coverage that I would recommend on your policy; I’ll go into detail about those another time. If you have any questions about insurance coverage, or if you need an Atlanta injury attorney to help with your car accident claim, give us a call, and we’ll discuss your case.