Understanding Your Car Insurance
Good car insurance is one of the most important assets that an individual can have.
A car accident can wreak havoc on an individual’s life—and insufficient car insurance can make it difficult or almost impossible to catch up on the medical bills that result and to seek treatment from injuries. Unfortunately, too many people don’t take a look at their car insurance coverage until after a car accident has already occurred. So, here are three things that your car insurance should cover for you after a car accident:
1. Car Insurance Protects You – Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection (also known as “PIP”), is one of the least understood and most important aspects of comprehensive car insurance. We’ve covered PIP in more depth before, but in short, PIP coverage is your insurance provider’s obligation to pay your medical bills regardless of who’s at fault in the accident. You can be assured that your car insurance will pay your medical bills up to a certain amount. Why is this?
Sometimes cases can get bogged down into litigation for years, and the insurance companies can’t agree who’s at fault. Accordingly, PIP coverage is required to be offered by insurance companies in Pennsylvania so that, after a car accident, you have a reliable source of payment for those medical bills from your own insurance company.
2. Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
But what happens when you’re hit by someone else, they cause injuries and their insurance doesn’t cover the extent of your injuries? What if someone is driving without any car insurance at all, and they hit you? In these cases, your own insurance may cover you under the “uninsured motorist coverage” portion of your policy. Similarly, if they don’t have sufficient insurance, underinsured coverage provides extra money for you to cover your injuries.
In Pennsylvania, you are always given the opportunity to “waive” uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage—that is, you may decline the coverage in exchange for a lower premium. This is generally a very bad idea. You should not waive this coverage, because this might be the only way that you can be covered if you’re in an accident and your damages are serious. The law only requires drivers to carry $15,000 in coverage.
If you’re in a serious car or motorcycle accident, this won’t be nearly enough to cover your medical bills, time off work and compensation for your pain and suffering. In that case, while your own insurance will have to cover your medical bills up to a certain point, after that you will be unable to obtain any additional payment for your pain and suffering or any medical bills that are in excess of that amount.
You can’t control whether other drivers are responsible, but you can insure against their irresponsibility. It’s important that you have substantial underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage in case you’re in a car accident so that you aren’t left without anyone to pay for those bills.
3. Third Party Liability
This third one is the least exciting of all insurance coverages, but it’s extremely important. Your car insurance indemnifies you in the event that you are in an accident that causes someone else harm. Hopefully, all of us try to be safe and careful drivers, but accidents do happen.
In the event that you cause a car accident and someone else is badly injured, you are personally on the hook for any injuries that you cause. This means that if you own a home, that house could even be in jeopardy if you injure someone badly enough. It doesn’t take much to be seriously injured in a car accident or a motorcycle crash.
Accordingly, you can do substantial damage that could wipe out all of your assets after a car accident. That’s why third-party liability coverage on your insurance policy is so important.
Conclusion: Car Insurance, a Social Safety Net
Car insurance plays an extremely vital role in our society, ensuring that anyone who’s injured on the road has a path to recovery. At Cornerstone Law Firm, we help people navigate the confusing world of car insurance claims after a car accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle or car crash, or if you’ve been hit as a pedestrian by a vehicle, please call the personal injury attorneys at the Cornerstone Law Firm today so that we can discuss how to properly handle your insurance claim.