Auto Insurance Advice from a Personal Injury Attorney
You probably have automobile insurance, but do you understand the basics of your policy? The first step in reviewing your automobile insurance policy is to request a copy of the Declaration’s Page which contains details unique to your specific policy. It will list all members, drivers and automobiles on your policy as well as the policy number and the duration of your policy. It also contains the type of coverage purchased, policy limits and deductibles. It is important to review this material for accuracy and become familiar with your policy.
There are multiple coverage options under your automobile insurance policy. We will briefly discuss the major options:
Liability Coverage applies if you are at fault in an automobile accident. It will cover the other person’s injuries and property damage up to the amount of your policy limit. Given the rising costs of medical treatment and automobile repairs, it is recommended that you carry liability limits well above the minimum required limits in Alabama which are 25/50/25.
Medical Payment Coverage is an optional coverage which is highly recommended. It helps cover health care costs related to an automobile accident regardless of who is at fault. Many people do not realize they are entitled to collect medical payment coverage from their own insurance company when they are involved in an accident. The smart approach is to have as much medical payment as you can afford on your policy. It is relatively inexpensive to increase this amount of coverage.
Collision Coverage is the coverage that repairs your vehicle when you are involved in an accident. This coverage is the most expensive part of your overall premium. The deductible that you choose in regard to this coverage directly affects the premium cost. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium cost.
Comprehensive Coverage covers damage to your vehicle not caused by collision. Examples include damage from contact with animals or falling objects, broken glass or the theft of your vehicle. This is generally the second most expensive part of your premium after collision coverage. It is subject to a deductible and again, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium costs.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage is available on your personal automobile and can also be applicable if you reside in a household with someone who has that coverage on their automobile. This insurance is applicable when the at fault party who caused the accident either has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to fully compensate the injured party. In Alabama, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory on your policy unless you specifically reject it in writing when you take out your policy. It is one of the cheapest coverages on your policy and is highly recommended to protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured drivers.
–Frank S. Buck, P.C., Attorney at Law
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