It’s hard to save and prepare for the future with the wild economy and everyday needs gnawing at your wallet. There are many ways you might try to pinch pennies, but if you’re thinking about cutting corners on auto insurance, you should think again. You may save a little money now, but it’s a decision that could cost you thousands as a patient later.
Being Uninsured or Underinsured is Risky Business
Insurance can be expensive and confusing to understand, but it’s absolutely necessary if you end up a patient in the hospital. Not having auto insurance, or enough coverage, can be significantly more expensive than paying a few extra dollars a month for a policy that offers adequate protection.
Insurance Policy Options
There are different options and levels of auto insurance coverage, and it can be difficult to understand exactly what the choices you’re making mean. Often, people try to save money by choosing the very minimum, but that can prove a costly mistake. While it’s certainly better to have some coverage than none, the minimum often fails to protect you in an accident.
To make things easier, here is some information to help you know what types of coverage to consider and how much coverage to choose.
Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist
If you’re in an accident and the other driver was at fault, they should be responsible for compensation, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Because one in seven drivers isn’t uninsured, and many are underinsured, you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself and your financial security.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage provides protection for you and your family members living in your household if you are injured in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have any insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your losses.
Unfortunately, many people won’t purchase this coverage, because it is not required. Remember, you may save a few dollars now, but it could cost you thousands later. We recommend a minimum coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.
There are many other options you should look out for when looking over your insurance coverage. Bodily Injury Liability (which covers the other driver when you are found at fault), Medical Expense Benefit (which covers your patient medical bills), and Property Damage Liability (which covers any property you may have damaged) have a minimum coverage that may save you a few dollars now but usually won’t fully cover your costs later.
Pennsylvania offers Full Tort or Limited Tort coverage. Likewise, choosing Limited Tort over Full Tort will save you some money, but it will also prevent you from receiving compensation for pain and suffering. Additionally, choosing Limited Tort affects other family members living in your household. If you are a parent and you choose Limited Tort on your insurance policy, and your child is injured in an accident, you will not be able to make a claim for pain and suffering for your child in most cases.
There’s even Income Loss coverage, which is not required but could save you thousands in lost wages if you’re injured and unable to work while you undergo treatment as a patient. Above all, don’t trust the other person to have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, etc. You can’t control who hits you or how much insurance coverage they have – but you can control the amount of coverage you choose to protect your legal rights, cover your medical bills as a patient, and your family’s financial security.
Protect Your Future
The temptation to save some money by cutting auto insurance coverage may be strong. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember that being uninsured is illegal and very dangerous – especially if you end up as a patient. Purchasing the bare minimum may save you some money now, but it could cost you your future later.
You can make changes to your auto insurance policy at any time, so review your coverage today.
Attorney Edgar Snyder has served the residents of western Pennsylvania and its surrounding regions for over 40 years. His advice comes from representing thousands of auto accident victims and their families. For more information on auto insurance, view our free e-book on How to Choose Auto Insurance at http://www.edgarsnyder.com/pdf/auto.pdf.