Personal Injuries: Don’t get hurt twice. Know your car insurance.
How many of us actually take the time to review the auto insurance coverage that we have? How many of us simply renew our coverage, year to year, without really knowing what we’re buying? Did you know that the personal injuries that you sustain in a car accident have more to do with your insurance policy than the person that hit you?
Your personal auto insurance controls what kinds of medical treatment you can receive, if you are allowed to sue to recover money damages for your personal injuries and the maximum amount of recovery you may be entitled to. Recovery for serious personal injury is less to do with what kind of auto insurance the other guy has and a great deal to do with what you purchase.
Look at the DEC SHEET (Declarations Page) of your auto policy. It’s the page with the personal & specific information about you, your family members and the cars you drive. Under COVERAGES, the first two are about LIABILITY. These are important because its what the company will pay the other guy if YOU cause the accident. Make sure that you buy enough coverage to protect your assets. The next two that are listed are just as, or more, important. UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORISTS. This is the coverage that applies when the other guy causes the accident but has no insurance or not enough for your personal injuries. Buy as much of this coverage as your budget will allow! Don’t look to the other guy to protect you…protect yourself.
The next section is PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP) and this deals with how much medical treatment you can receive. Purchase enough to cover serious personal injuries from catastrophic auto accidents. Choose deductibles and co-payment obligations that fit your budget.
The next series of benefits are discretionary based upon how much protection you want and can afford: towing, collision, comprehensive, rental car reimbursement, income continuation & death benefits.
Lastly and most importantly is THRESHOLD ELECTION. This determines if and when you can file a lawsuit to seek payment for your personal injuries. I’m not talking about “sue happy” losers looking to make a buck. I’m talking about real, hard working, people who suffer serious permanent personal injuries due to the negligence of another. Choosing NO THRESHOLD or NO LIMITATION is best because it allows you the greatest degree of freedom and options under the laws of New Jersey. The other choice is the VERBAL THRESHOLD or LIMITATION ON LAWSUIT which requires your injuries to be of a certain type and of a certain degree. Many of the most painful and nagging injuries are EXCLUDED under this election.
What’s best for you? Consult your auto insurance broker/agent or your attorney for a FREE discussion about what these coverages mean, what they cost and what BETTER COVERAGE costs. Upgrading your coverage is not as expensive as you may think. Who among us wouldn’t pay $500 more per year for twice the amount of coverage that we have now! Sy Syms was right…an educated consumer is the best customer.
Personal injuries are painful and can be long lasting. Don’t get hurt twice! Know your auto insurance coverage.