Spoon Gordon Ballew Attorneys at Law, PC Blog Post

Car Insurance: Do you have proper coverage?

It can happen in the blink of an eye. It can devastate your car, your wallet, even your life. Does your car insurance company cover personal injury?

Don’t let slick TV ads and catchy jingles lead you down a road of mayhem. There are some critical aspects of car insurance that every insuree must consider to secure their care if they are injured in an accident. From a personal injury standpoint considering plans comprehensively, and not just the cost per month, will pay off in dividends if an accident occurs.

The following will help you to better navigate vehicle insurance plans. Let’s look at them from a personal injury standpoint assuming you were in a wreck in which you were not at fault, such as being rear-ended at a red-light.

Montana law requires every driver to have liability insurance that covers a minimum of $25,000 per person. Although it is unlawful, not all drivers are insured. An example we see of this every day, is the at-fault driver simply procrastinated and forgot to renew his auto policy. In this case Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage would kick in the $25,000.00 that would otherwise be paid by the insurance of the other driver. The amount paid by UM would take care of burdens like medical bills as well as wages lost due to the injury. Underinsured Motorist (UIM) has been said to be the most crucial policy to carry.

The difference between UIM and UM is simply that while UM kicks in if the negligent driver is uninsured UIM comes into play when the other driver has only liability insurance but your damages are in excess of the liability limits, which, often times is only the minimum of $25,000. In this event, you want to ensure that you purchased both UM and UIM coverage; otherwise, only the liability limits may be available to cover your damages. Make sure to inquire about UIM at your insurance office as it is a very reasonably priced product but is rarely brought up during the routine sales pitch. We highly recommend UIM.

A coverage option that pays out regardless of fault is Medical Payments coverage, commonly referred to as “Med-Pay”. Med-Pay is usually sold in increments ranging from $1,000.00, $2,500.00, $5,000 and up to $10,000.00. Again regardless of fault, Med Pay will kick in the insured amount for those in the vehicle associated with the policy.

Okay, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation. We’ve considered scenarios that will help you cover your losses if you are innocent in a car accident. What if you are the negligent driver? There is a particular policy we suggest you consider.

Bodily Injury (BI) coverage balances the insurance equation by protecting the at-fault driver. In general BI policies are covered based on one’s evaluated assets and cash with no less than the required $25,000.00 coverage being in place. BI is important to consider obtaining so that if you do cause an accident you will have a plan to cover the injuries of those in the other vehicle. If you are not covered and you cause an accident, it is lawful and likely that those in the other car will prosecute you for their medical costs.

To evaluate your existing policy, flip back to the Declarations, or “dec”, page. There you will find the details in which your policy is laid out. If you are in the market for a new insurance company make sure that the company you choose is reputable and is known for putting its clients first, not catching them with an ad and then throwing them to the sharks.