When shopping for car insurance, many people are put off by not knowing which of the many varieties of coverage they may actually need and which ones are merely there to line the pockets of insurance companies. A recent article by Yahoo Finance analyzed some standard insurance policies to come up with a guide for what kinds of coverage the average consumer needs. The Yahoo article gave each variety of coverage a ranking according to color: red meaning the policy is urgent, orange to signify important and yellow meaning least critical. First things first, liability coverage:
• Liability Coverage
• Urgency: Red
Liability coverage exists to pay for bodily injury and property damage that you or others cause while operating your vehicle. Liability coverage will also cover court costs if you’re sued as a result of an accident. Given the description, the necessity of the policy is pretty obvious. It’s this coverage that is designed to protect your assets and future earning power if you are ever involved in a bad accident. A bit of good news is that it typically doesn’t cost much (less than $50 every six months) to double your current liability coverage, so it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.
• Collision Coverage
• Rating: Yellow
Collision coverage is what pays to fix your car in the event of an accident. The value of this policy depends almost entirely on money; how old and how much your car is worth, how much a repair might cost and whether you’re able to afford the repair on your own without collision coverage.
While collision coverage is important, as your car ages and depreciates, it might not be a bad idea to increase your deductible so that your monthly premiums go down or even consider dropping collision all together. This is an instance where leasing your car will result in a guaranteed purchase as companies will require you to carry collision coverage.
• Medical Payments Coverage
• Rating: Orange
Medical-payments coverage ensures that reasonable medical expenses are paid for those in your vehicle, regardless of who caused the wreck. The importance of this policy depends on your situation, if you don’t have insurance or are lacking, move the color up to red and carry the maximum that your company will allow. If you’re an avid carpooler then you’ll also want increased coverage to ensure that everyone in your car has his or her medical care covered in the event of an accident.
• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
• Rating: Red
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or UM/UIM, exists to pay for injuries that results from an accident caused by a driver who either totally lacks or does not have enough insurance coverage of their own. The number of uninsured drivers in North Carolina is significant, estimated at 8% who lack proper coverage. Given the risk of running into one of these drivers (pardon the pun), this kind of coverage is absolutely critical for drivers in the state. Even if you’re in an accident with someone who has insurance, a lot of times they might not have enough insurance to cover the injuries you actually sustain.
A good rule of thumb is to match your UM/UIM coverage to the bodily injury limits of your car insurance liability coverage. Even doing this much shouldn’t cost a fortune as this coverage is the cheapest of all, sometimes coming in at $1 a month.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced car wreck lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
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