Accidents happen. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, more than 10 million car accidents happen each year, with nearly half involving some sort of injury ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious injuries such as broken bones. Most states, including Pennsylvania, legally require drivers to have auto insurance coverage in case of an accident. Chances are you currently carry auto insurance, but in case of an accident, do you know what is covered and what is not?
With many insurance providers and coverage types to choose from, and with all the text in those lengthy contracts, it’s important to know the following if an accident occurs: what coverage you are paying for; what is not covered; and what additional out-of-pocket costs you could face.
The personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine specialize in auto accident cases. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking at your auto policy:
- Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
- Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
- Bodily Injury & Property Damage Coverage
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Which tort coverage you choose – whether full or limited – will determine your ability to seek compensation for pain and suffering if you are injured in an accident. But first, what does tort mean? “Tort” is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right leading to civil legal liability. * While limited tort may save you some money, it dramatically limits your rights. Drivers with limited tort policies essentially give up their right to “pain and suffering” in a personal injury claim, unless the courts deem the injuries as “serious.” Limited tort drivers waive their rights to recover compensation for any long-term effects even though they may be life-changing. Be sure to examine your policy closely to determine if you have full or limited tort.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
Even though most states require auto insurance coverage, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates 1 in 7 motorists nationally are uninsured (with 1 in 10 in Pennsylvania). Driving through Mississippi? The IRC estimates 25% of motorists are uninsured (1 in 4). To prevent financial hardships in case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, consider adding optional uninsured and underinsured coverage. This type of coverage is recommended for extra protection against drivers who do not have insurance or who have limited coverage which will not cover the expenses that may result from an accident. It protects you and your passengers and helps you reduce the risk of owing money after an accident that was not your fault.
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Coverage
Bodily injury and property damage coverage are types of liability coverage that can be used to cover expenses should you be at-fault in an accident. This coverage makes up the bulk of your policy and is important to understand. Most motorists have policies with the minimum requirements for the state; however, talk to your agent if you feel you need higher liability coverage. Remember, liability coverage is meant to protect you in severe situations – it’s something you hope you never need.
For more insight on auto insurance coverage, it’s important to sit down and discuss your options with your insurance agent, especially if you are driving a new or “new to you” vehicle. Understanding your insurance policy is critical to ensure that you are covered in the event of an accident. Remember, the choices you make related to your coverage determine your right to compensation and action following an accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, reach out to the accident and personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine. Get a specialized attorney on your side who has a full understanding of insurance policies and coverages to know what you may be facing in court. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7 and there’s no fee unless we win for you.