Accidents happen. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, in 2019, 38,800 people were killed in car accidents in the United States. An additional 4.4 million people were injured severely enough that they required medical attention. Following a car accident, vehicle damage and medical expenses can be costly, which is one reason it is important to carry auto insurance. Most states, including Pennsylvania, legally require drivers to have auto insurance coverage in case of an accident, but 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 a car accident occurs:
- What coverage you are paying for?
- What is not covered?
- What additional out-of-pocket costs you could face?
The car accident lawyers at Dale E. Anstine understand insurance policies and Pennsylvania’s auto accident laws. Today, the accident lawyers are sharing tips to help you better understand your insurance policy and ensure you have coverage that will fully protect you in the case of an accident, including covering topics such as:
- Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
- Personal Injury Coverage
- Collision Coverage
- Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
- Bodily Injury & Property Damage Coverage
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
What is tort? This is a common question our car accident lawyers have heard many times over the years. When it comes to your insurance policy, choices you make regarding tort coverage can impact your rights to sue after suffering harm in a vehicle accident. Choosing between full and limited tort in your auto insurance policy is an important decision. Full tort gives you the right to sue for pain and suffering caused by an accident. Although this option is sometimes more expensive, if you ask, you will find the cost to switch to full tort is not that much, often less than a cup of coffee a day. Plus, the premium you pay each month is likely to be less than the costly vehicle repairs and medical bills resulting from an accident. On the other hand, limited tort is often available at a lower cost, but will dramatically limit your rights in the event of an auto accident. Drivers with limited tort policies essentially give up their right to seek compensation for “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.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Dale E. Anstine are here to help you understand your coverage options and evaluate your policy. Reach out to us today if you have questions about your insurance coverage!
Personal Injury Coverage
In addition to liability coverage, motorists have the choice to add certain additional coverage options to protect against potential risks. Personal injury coverage can be purchased for the driver and passengers of a vehicle. This coverage ensures that if involved in an accident, even if you are at-fault, the insurance company will cover medical bills for the driver and passengers in the vehicle.
Vehicles are expensive and following an accident, your car or truck could be totaled or need major repairs. In an insurance policy, motorists have the option to select collision coverage as an add-on. If this coverage is selected, the insurance company will cover the cost of car repairs after the accident. The cost of collision coverage is based on the age of your vehicle and will ensure your car is repaired or you are paid the current market value of your vehicle after an accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
Even though most states require auto insurance coverage, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates one in seven motorists nationally are uninsured. In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that one in ten motorists do not carry insurance. To prevent financial hardships in case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, consider adding optional uninsured and underinsured coverage to your policy. The car accident lawyers at Dale E. Anstine recommended adding this coverage 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, but something you will be glad you chose should you find yourself in a serious vehicle accident.
For more insight on auto insurance coverage, it’s important to sit down and discuss your options with your insurance agent. Understanding your insurance policy is critical to ensure your rights are protected in the event of an accident. Remember, the choices you make related to your coverage determine your right to seek certain levels of compensation and take action following an accident. If after speaking to your insurance agent you still have questions, reach out. We’ll be happy to walk through your policy with you and answer your questions to make sure you are protected.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, reach out to the car accident attorneys at Dale E. Anstine. Get a fighter 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 accident lawyers are 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.