Do You Have Enough Insurance?
Do you have enough insurance? One of the most frustrating situations for personal injury clients is when they have been seriously injured and have incurred significant medical expenses but there is not enough insurance coverage available to properly compensate them for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
Everyone should review their insurance coverage and consider whether their coverage is sufficient. Here is a list of the types of insurance available for property damage and a more detailed review of the types of insurance available for personal injury.
Property Damage Insurance
Collision – This coverage will pay to repair your car or will pay you its reasonable value, whichever is less, when it is damaged in a collision with another vehicle or an object, no matter who is at fault.
Comprehensive – This coverage will pay to repair your car or will pay you its reasonable value if it is damaged from anything other than a collision, such as theft, fire, vandalism, or weather.
Liability and uninsured/under-insured insurance provide coverage for both property damage and personal injury, and will be addressed below.
Personal Injury Insurance
Liability – This coverage will pay up to the policy limits for an accident that you cause. The minimum limits of personal injury liability insurance in Virginia are $25,000 per individual and $50,000 total for all people injured in one accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured – This coverage is important in case you are injured or your vehicle is damaged by someone who does not have insurance or who does not have enough insurance to fairly compensate you. Usually, your policy limits for uninsured/underinsured coverage are the same as the policy limits for liability in your policy.
Medical payment – This insurance pays you the lesser of what health insurance paid or the full amount of the bill for medical expenses you incurred to treat injuries you suffer in an automobile accident, regardless of who caused the accident. You pay an extra premium for medical expense coverage and it often is available at a low cost.
Insurance Coverage Recommendations
At Joannou Law, we recommend that you have an insurance policy with limits of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, but a policy with limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident offers better protection. Given the rising cost of health care, the minimum policy limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident are often not enough. Just one visit to the emergency room can cost thousands of dollars and if you need x-rays, a CT scan, or a MRI the costs go much higher.
If you are sued for causing an accident, you will be personally responsible for any judgment amount in excess of your available coverage. For example, if you have a $25,000 policy and the court awards $30,000 against you then you will have to pay $5,000 personally. Equally important, if you are hit by an uninsured driver and only have a minimum $25,000 policy limit then you can not receive more than $25,000 even if your medical bills and lost wages are much higher than that amount unless the defendant has money or other assets with which to pay you more.
In addition, even if the defendant has insurance, if your policy limits are higher than theirs, then you will have the higher limits available to compensate you for your injuries. Finally, we recommend that you get medical payments coverage since this is an additional source of payment even if the accident is your fault and even if you have health insurance.
Increasing your policy limits may be more affordable than you expect, and if you are involved in an accident it will be worth having the higher policy limits to protect you if you are sued and to compensate you if you are injured. You should make the decision that is right for you. Do you have enough insurance to cover you needs in the event of an accident or other emergency?
If you are injured due to the negligence of another, please contact Joannou & Associates.