Too often people are under-insured and are at risk of losing their standard of living if involved in an accident.
We have seen many cases where an individual is involved in a catastrophic accident and neither party has sufficient insurance coverage to make the injured party whole. If you are hit by someone that only has a $25,000 policy and your medical bills are $75,000, you may be responsible for the remaining amount. This is especially true if you do not have un/underinsured motorist benefits (UIM) and/or personal injury protection (PIP). In Washington, it is possible to refuse (or waive) PIP and UIM benefits. This will reduce your premiums, but also reduces your protection. If you have UIM coverage of $100,000, then the person that hits you with only $25,000 and your medical bills are $75,000, you will likely not be responsible for any medical bills and may also get some money for the pain and suffering you went through as a result of these injuries. Accidents happen and this is one way you may be able to protect yourself from the unexpected.
Now imagine you caused the accident and the other person suffered $75,000 in medical bills but you only have $25,000 in liability limits through your auto insurance. The injured person may come after you personally for medical bills over your $25,000. Unfortunately, we have seen cases were people are forced to refinance their homes, sell their cars, and even quit a job they love in order to make more money, because they are forced into payment of an injured person’s bills and a judgment through the court. This can negatively impact your credit score and influence your financial health for years.
This can also be an issue with homeowner’s and/or rental insurance. If someone is injured at your home or your dog bites a neighbor, this type of insurance can help you pay for the damages caused, preventing you from personally paying. Insurance companies often offer discounts if you have your home/renters and auto both through the same company. You can also get an “umbrella” policy (aka personal liability umbrella policy or PLUP) if you have both through the same provider. This protection usually starts at $1,000,000 in coverage and floats over your home and auto policies, in case the damages exceed the individual policy. No one intends an accident or injury to occur, but sometimes the results can be catastrophic for both parties.
Calling an insurance representative and asking about deals and types of coverage can help you ensure you have the correct coverage for your situation and better understand the risks and benefits of specific coverage options. Of course any time you make a claim with your insurance, your policy premium payments may increase or your ability to retain coverage following the incident can be impacted. If you have caused an accident or injury, your insurance policy may provide you with defense and an attorney may be assigned to you. If you are the victim of an accident or injury, you can always contact an attorney for advice on how to move forward with the injury or claim, and information on how you may be impacted, considering the specific facts in your case.
*Disclaimer: The following posts are for informational purposes only, they are not specifically applied to any case and are not to be relied upon as legal advice.