WHAT IS FULL COVERAGE IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT?

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3Have you been injured in an auto, motorcycle, or bicycle accident and need to know what your coverage means?  What is full coverage?

By: Renee L. Dial, Esq.

We all have heard someone state that they have full coverage when asked about their automobile insurance policy.  What exactly is full coverage?  I can honestly say I have no idea.  I know what coverage my clients need to protect themselves.

First, I always recommend to have at least $50,000 in property damage insurance.  This coverage provides protection in the event you damage another person’s property either by a collision with another vehicle or impacting an object.  This insurance pays the other party on your behalf.  Most cars now are valued well over the $10,000 limits that the state requires you to have and you do not want to have to pay for the other party’s damages out of pocket.

If you would like to protect your property then you will want to have comprehensive and collision coverage.  This coverage will pay the determined value for your car if it is damaged in an accident regardless of fault.  This coverage can be a little more costly but is worth it if you have a newer car and mandatory by most lenders if you have a lien holder.

Next, the state requires you to have personal injury protection coverage (PIP).  PIP provides payments to medical providers for injuries you sustain in an auto accident.  Generally PIP covers 80% of your medical bills up to the $10,000 limit of your policy.  It is not a bad idea to carry additional medical payments coverage to pay the additional 20% that PIP does not cover and the coverage is relatively inexpensive.  Please do not forget that you only have 14 days to seek medical attention or you will lose valuable benefits of your insurance plan.

The state does not require you to carry bodily injury insurance but I strongly recommend it especially if you own a business or have assets that a person injured by you can come after.  I also recommend not carrying the minimum coverage of $10,000.  This amount barely provides any protection to you because most ER visits can exceed $10,000.  Bodily injury coverage pays for the other party’s medical costs that their PIP did not cover and pays for pain and suffering.

The next coverage that I highly suggest is uninsured motorist coverage (UM).  UM coverage comes either in non-stacked or stacked.  Stacked is the better of the two as it provides more protection for your injuries if the at-fault party did not carry BI or did not have sufficient amounts of BI to cover you for your injuries.  UM insurance cannot be purchased for more than the value of your BI insurance.  If you have $25,000 in BI you can only purchase $25,000 in UM.  Now say that you have three cars and have stacked coverage on the same policy on all three cars.  Now you have $75,000 in UM and only $25,000 in BI.  The public policy rational is that they do not want someone protecting themselves more than the others they may injure on the road.  Always carry stacked UM.  Your insurance company will have you sign a waiver of UM coverage if you are not going to carry this coverage.

So when I hear someone say they have full coverage I have no idea what they mean.  You can $10,000 in BI or a million in BI.  You can have $10,000 in UM or have a stacked UM policy of $100,000 with ten cars.  If you are involved in an automobile accident you need to carry adequate amounts of all of the above mentioned coverage.

Our office provides FREE CONSULTATIONS for personal injury cases.

If you have questions regarding bicycle accidentsautomobile and motorcycle accidents in MelbournePalm BayPatrick Air Force BaseCocoa, and the beaches. Or if you have any questions regarding insurance coverage on your auto or motorcycle please do not hesitate to contact Renee L. Dial or another DKN Legal attorney at (321) 329-5449.  Press 4 for new clients.

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