Unless you happen to work in the industry, auto insurance can be complicated. With so many options, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the different types of coverage available. For instance, if you have a car worth $65,000, and someone with liability coverage of only $50,000 totals your car , what happens? Do you have enough underinsured motorist coverage to cover the rest of the damages? And does your insurance include medical payments coverage? These are important questions to ask but, if you’re not even sure what these policies mean, it may be difficult to have a conversation with your insurer about them. Our guide below explains the most common types of coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability
If another person is injured because of your carelessness or the carelessness of someone driving your car, this coverage typically requires your insurance company to pay the claim.
The company’s obligation is limited, however, to the amount of coverage you purchased. In West Virginia for example, the minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident must be purchased and your company will pay no more than $20,000 to each injured person and no more than $40,000 total for any one accident. You could be held personally responsible for any damages above the amount of your insurance coverage. You may see shorthand references to liability insurance limits as 20/40, etc. We always recommend that our clients purchase additional coverage. It’s surprisingly inexpensive to increase your liability coverage above the minimum required by law.
This is similar to bodily injury liability except that it covers damage to another person’s property rather than physical injuries. The company’s obligation to pay is also limited to the amount of coverage you buy. The minimum property damage coverage in West Virginia is $10,000. So, shorthand references to liability and property damage coverage combined may be written as 20/40/10. Again, we recommend that our clients increase their property damage coverage above the minimum required by law.
This category of protection generally requires your insurance company to pay for damage to your car caused by something other than an auto accident (for example fire, theft, or vandalism). The company’s obligation to you will be limited by the amount of any “deductible” you may have purchased. A $100 deductible means that you pay the first $100, then the company pays the rest.
This type of coverage means that your insurance company pays for damage to your car caused by an auto accident. Deductibles also are common with this coverage.
Medical Payments Coverage
Your insurance company will pay the reasonable medical expenses of anyone in your car who is injured in an accident. Under this coverage, it does not matter who was at fault in the collision. You and most members of your household need not be in a car for this coverage to apply. For example, you would also be covered if struck by a car while you were a pedestrian. As with liability insurance, the company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you buy. Medical payments coverage is available in West Virginia and is available regardless of who is found to be at fault in an accident. This coverage is not mandatory.
If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and his or her liability insurance is insufficient to cover the full value of your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will pay your claims for physical injuries. It serves as a substitute for the bodily injury liability insurance that the other driver did not have. This coverage also is limited to the amount of insurance you buy. As with personal injury protection coverage, payment is not limited to automobile occupants.
If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and has no liability insurance to cover your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will take care of your claims. Again, your company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you purchase. Like personal injury protection and underinsured motorist coverage, it is not limited to automobile occupants.
Insurance can be confusing, and claims can be tough. You probably wouldn’t want to fight an insurance company on your own. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we will contact you at a better time.