UNDERSTAND YOUR AUTO INSURANCE
Many people expect that they are fully covered when they request their insurance agent to purchase “full insurance” on their behalf. It’s not until a catastrophe hits that the consumer realizes they did not get the insurance they need to protect themselves and their loved ones. “Full insurance” is defined by some insurance agents as the minimum insurance required by Florida Law; that means personal injury protection benefits and property damage coverage. Personal injury protection (PIP) covers the insured for 80% of their medical expenses and/or 60% of their lost wages as a result of a motor vehicle accident up to a maximum of $10,000.00. Some PIP policies have a $1,000.00 deductible, however we do NOT recommend that you save a few dollars by purchasing PIP coverage with a deductible. Property damage coverage provides benefits to others who have had their property damaged as a result of a motor vehicle accident. It does not protect the insured’s own property.
You may ask what other coverage is available, and what type of insurance should I purchase? Medical payment coverage is an inexpensive way to pay for the 20% of the medical expenses that personal injury protection does not pay. In fact, you can purchase more than $2,000.00 of medical payment coverage. Collision, a popular coverage, affords benefits to repair or replace your vehicle.
Bodily injury, also known as liability coverage, is what most people think of when they talk about insurance coverage. Bodily injury affords benefits to people you may injure as a result of your negligence.
There are numerous ways to decide how much bodily injury coverage to purchase. An amount sufficient to protect your assets is the most common recommendation. At Steinberg & Linn, P.A., we recommend a minimum of $100,000.00 bodily injury coverage for those people who have no assets because no insurance company will allow you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage for an amount greater than the bodily injury coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family members if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence. In our opinion, this is the most important coverage. Don’t trust other people to have insurance for you; make sure you buy enough insurance to protect your family should a catastrophe occur. If you have more than one vehicle on your policy definitely get stacking for your uninsured motorist coverage. Stacking means that your uninsured motorist limits will be multiplied by the number of vehicles on your policy.
When purchasing insurance, make sure your agent gives you a complete explanation of each coverage available. If you are having difficulty understanding a type of coverage, have the agent explain it in writing. Ask the agent for specific price quotes for higher coverage. You will find that the vast majority of your premium is paid for the first $10,000.00 worth of coverage and that it is comparatively inexpensive to purchase $100,000.00 or even a million dollars of bodily injury coverage with uninsured motorist benefits.
We hope that you are fortunate enough not to need the insurance you purchase.