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Many times in representing injured automobile clients I am asked "What kind of coverage do I have?" I am always so surprised that so few of us know what coverages we carry to protect to our assets, our family and our vehicles. Basic coverages are:
  • Liability- pays damages due to bodily injury and property damage to others for which you are responsible.
  • Collision- pays for a covered car that is damaged by collision with another object or by upset of the car, a deductible is required
  • Med Pay- pays medical and funeral expenses for bodily injury to a covered person sustained in a car accident
  • UM/UIM-uninsured motor vehicle coverage pays bodily injury damages when an insured is injured in a car accident caused by another person who does not have liability insurance
  • Underinsured pays damages when an insured is injured in an accident caused by another person who has liability insurances whose limits are less than the insured’s limits for this coverage
  • Umbrella-personal liability policy provides additional liability coverage for car, home, boat and recreation vehicle, usually offered in one million dollar increments
  • Rental- pays a certain amount when a car is rented while a car is not drivable due to a loss covered under collision coverage
Towing-pays for towing of a car up to a certain amount

North Carolina law requires us to carry a minimum of $ 30,000 per person $60,000 per accident for liability for injuries we cause.

This is not sufficient to protect our assets. For example, if you cause an accident and the other person(s) are seriously injured, your insurance is only required to pay $30,000 for one injured person or $60,000 for everyone in the vehicle(s) you hit. If there are extensive injuries, the hospital bill alone could exceed your coverage protection, subjecting you and your family to a potential judgment for excess bills, exposing your personal assets and real estate.

Minimum liability for property damages of others is certainly not sufficient with most of today’s automobiles on the road. Med Pay is a policy that you can purchase with coverages from $ 1,000 per accident up to $ 100, 000 for you or any family member using your automobile. It also covers you if you are hit by an automobile by another person or any way connected with "an automobile". You can collect payment of your medical bills up to the amount of your coverage, and it cannot affect your insurance rates by North Carolina law.

UM/UIM protects you or your family members if the at -fault vehicle has no insurance or sufficient insurance to cover your injuries. To protect yourself you need a minimum of $100,000/$300,000 in coverage. More and more we see clear liability from the at fault party but minimum or no insurance by that person. A typical cost with UM/UIM to protect yourself for $100/300 is only about $20 for six months for a driver with no points, single-vehicle rate policy. This is an inexpensive way to protect your family.

It is important that you review all coverages to understand exactly what you have. Contact your agent and ask the hard questions such as "what happens to me if…?"
so that you know that you are protected.

(written by Frances S. Knox)

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