2 Reasons Why You Need to Look at Your Auto Insurance Policy – IMMEDIATELY

Posted By: Tony Baratta | January 31st, 2018

Go find your automobile insurance policy and look at the Declarations Page. Let’s make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. We are going to focus on two areas of auto insurance that people tend to overlook.

#1 – Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) Coverage

Many motorists buy only the minimal coverage of UIM insurance or none at all.

This is a HUGE Mistake!

The only way to protect yourself from injury caused by an underinsured driver is to purchase UIM coverage  which is available up to $1MM without incurring tremendous premium increases. If you have more than one vehicle, you should also choose the option to Stack your coverages. This will permit you to multiply the amount of your UIM coverage by the number of vehicles insured.

Here is just ONE EXAMPLE of the many I have seen in my practice that explain why you need to purchase UIM coverage :

John was driving his fiancé home after having seen a movie. It was a little after midnight. He was traveling through a steady green light when suddenly he was struck in the driver’s side by a Ford F-150 driven by a drunk driver. The force of the collision propelled John from his car onto the street. He suffered massive internal injuries and a brain injury. Now, several years after the accident, John remains disabled and cannot perform any work. The drunk driver carried automobile coverage of only $50K. The bar that served the drunk driver prior to the accident was uninsured. John carried no UIM coverage.  At trial, John was awarded $3.6MM in damages. However, this was a hollow victory as only $50K was able to be recovered, the amount of the drunk driver’s liability coverage. Things could have been different for John and his family if he had carried UIM coverage.

#2 – Medical Coverage

Do you realize that when you are involved in an auto accident, even if not your fault, you are responsible for your own medical bills?  Most people choose the minimum medical coverage available assuming that health insurance will cover the medical expenses in excess of the minimum coverage. This minimum, $5K, can be exhausted simply in the ambulance ride and evaluations in the emergency room. Most people don’t know they can choose benefits up to $1.1MM in increments of $100k without incurring a tremendous premium increase.

There are many reasons to not rely upon your health insurance. Your health insurance may be an HMO in which you are required to treat with in-network providers and receive referrals from your primary care physician (whereas with your automobile insurance, you can choose to get whatever treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to the injuries sustained in the accident).

Your health insurance carrier may be entitled to recover those monies it has paid for your medical treatment from any recovery you make from the person responsible for causing the accident (whereas your automobile insurance carrier is not entitled to recover those payments made).

Health insurance benefits are extremely expensive and, even if you are lucky enough to have employer-sponsored medical benefits, in this economy, you never know when you may lose the coverage and be forced to pay for those medical benefits yourself. For a relatively insignificant premium, you can ensure that your medical bills will be paid if sustained in a motor vehicle accident by choosing the proper medical coverage.

Do you have enough Under-Insured Motorist and Medical Benefits coverage in your automobile policy? If the answer is no, please call your insurance company or broker immediately to make the necessary changes.

Should you have any questions about any aspect of your automobile insurance policy and how to protect yourself in the event of an accident, please call me at 215.914.2222.

No matter how safely you drive, you cannot control the actions of some other driver. Please protect yourself and your family by being prepared.


About the Author

Anthony J. Baratta (Tony) is a trial attorney. He has tried more than 50 cases to Juries in State and Federal Courts and has litigated thousands of personal injury and medical malpractice cases in his 30-year career. Tony is the founding partner of Baratta, Russell, & Baratta and an active board member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association (BPIA). Tony is also on the board for the Philadelphia VIP and performs pro bono work for the Laurel House, a non-profit for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, Tony is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for trial attorneys, voted one of Philadelphia’s Super Lawyers for the past 14 years, and a 2018 recipient of the First Judicial District Pro Bono Award for the Civil Trial Division.

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