Buyer Beware: Auto Insurance Advice
Most people shop for things the same way. Whether you are at the department store, grocery store or even online, we are often searching for the lowest price. However, when it comes to auto insurance, price should not be the only consideration. There are many facets to an auto insurance policy and while the premium you are paying is often what you can afford, that doesn’t mean that you are properly covered or that there are not better options out there for you. Not all insurance plans are created equally and being involved in a motor vehicle accident without proper coverage can have a devastating impact on your health and financial well-being.
Keep these 3 main considerations in mind the next time you are looking to save on insurance or reviewing your policy with an agent.
1. If you select limited tort, you may be giving up your right to compensation for pain and suffering not only for yourself buy also members of your family.
With this in mind, limited tort gives you a discount on your monthly premiums in exchange for your waiver of rights to sue should you ever experience pain and suffering unless you can prove that you sustained a very serious injury. This is very difficult to prove in many cases. In short, it limits your ability to sue for pain and suffering.
Full tort means that you have the right to seek compensation for all damages including pain and suffering no matter the amount or severety. This is one of the most important protections you can have. Complications from an auto accident can be catastrophic physically, mentally and emotionally and can arise days, weeks and even years after the accident occurs. Whatever savings you may realize on a month-to-month basis when you purchase limited tort pales in comparison to the lost opportunity to seek financial compensation for an accident that you did not cause. You can be out hundreds of thousands of dollars, left unable to work, or have chronic pain and/or trauma that can last a lifetime.
2. If you are involved in an accident with an un-insured motorist, which is not unusual in Philadelphia, and you do not have uninsured motorist protection, then you may have no claim for any injuries you might suffer.
Being caught without this important coverage means that you can be inadequately covered in the event that medical attention or repairs are needed after an accident. Typically, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for your damages – yet if that person has no car insurance, then you have no claim and can be out of pocket for these damages. Un-insured motorist coverage protects you from this scenario allowing a claim to be made with your insurance.
3. If you are in an accident with an under-insured motorist, you may only be able to collect up to the covered amount of that motorist’s policy limit unless you have under-insured motorist coverage on your own policy.
In essence, this is gap coverage to make up the difference between the amount of coverage the at-fault driver’s insurance covers and what your damage and injuries are worth. Some states have minimum levels of insurance and many folks opt to carry only that base amount of insurance in an attempt to save on their monthly premium. Under-insured motorist coverage helps prevent this shortfall in coverage.
Keep in mind that with un-insured and under-insured coverage, you may want to ensure that passengers and other drivers who have permission to use your vehicle are also covered. This is another area where the ‘devil is in the details’ if you have family members as either drivers or passengers. The amounts can be different or they may not be covered at all.
The next time you are tempted by commercials promising lower premiums, go ahead and comparison shop. There is no harm in protecting your wallet as a consumer. However, there is harm in being an uninformed consumer.
Murray L. Greenfield & Associates has been advising clients on choosing auto insurance policies for years and has represented hundreds of clients involved in auto accidents. Their experienced team of attorneys will sift through your policy and tell you if you are properly insured. They will also explain in more detail the difference between limited tort and full tort so that you can make the best decision possible for you and your family.
If you are interested in a free consultation on your auto insurance policy, give us a call today and a member of our legal team will be glad to assist you.