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Car Insurance Coverage: What You Don't Know Could Hurt You

A quick car insurance primer and the coverage you shouldn't drive without.

These days we are all looking for ways to trim our budgets, and we may be tempted to reduce our car insurance to lower our premiums. However, the small savings achieved now could very well come back to bite us in the event of an accident.

It is a fact that the worst, most dangerous drivers typically insure themselves for the very least they are legally required to. In New York, this means that the people who are the most likely to cause an accident with us will only be insured for $25,000.00, certainly not a large sum if we are seriously injured and cannot work.

The ONLY way to protect ourselves from these bad drivers with limited insurance is to make sure WE have a sufficient amount and the right type of insurance.

There are several different types of insurance contained in our car insurance policies, each providing us coverage for different losses. The liability portion of our policies provides protection if we cause an accident and get sued. Our insurance company will pay out to the person we injured up to the liability limits we purchased, and provide attorneys to defend us in any lawsuit that is brought.

The Personal Injury Protection portion of our policies provides anyone in our car, regardless of fault, medical and lost wage benefits. This is commonly known as No-Fault coverage. The Collision protection covers damage repairs to our cars, also regardless of fault, as does the Comprehensive protection.

Now we come to the most important coverage provided by our policies that most of us don't know about, or don't really understand. It is called Uninsured/Supplementary Uninsured Motorist coverage. This is the coverage that provides the crucial insurance we need to protect us from the bad drivers with little insurance. If the person that injures us has no insurance, minimal insurance, or just less insurance than we have, we can recover for our injuries from our own insurance company. With this coverage we are not at the mercy of the person that seriously injures us, and we don't have to hold our breath hoping that there will be adequate insurance to compensate us for our injuries. For example, if the person that injures us has a $25,000.00 policy, and we have $250,000.00 in Uninsured/Supplementary Uninsured coverage, we can collect the $25,000.00 from the bad driver's policy and then collect up to $225,000.00 from our own policy (the $25,000.00 is deducted from our coverage ). This coverage protects everyone that lives in our house no matter where they are... walking, bicycling, in a friend's car, etc.

It is a layer of protection that follows us and our families wherever they may be at the time they are injured. Moreover, this peace of mind can be added to our policies at a very low cost. So instead of calling our insurance agents/brokers to reduce our protection, we should pull out our policies and make the call to add the insurance that we really shouldn't drive without. A sample car insurance policy with suggested coverages can be viewed and printed from my website at www.northshoreinjurylawyer.com. I would also be more than happy to review your car insurance policy and answer any questions that you may have free of charge. I do not sell insurance or work with any agents or brokers. You can simply call me, email me, or send me a fax and I will make sure that your car coverage is providing you and your family with the protection you need. Keep it safe out there.

Mark T. Freeley, Esq. - www.northshoreinjurylawyer.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pam Botway December 24, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Great article! I had this problem over twenty years ago. I sent letters to every elected official in Albany, and suggested that insurance companies notify customers yearly, about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage options. The biggest surprise was that they did it! It is very important to read through all your insurance policies at renewal to spot any changes. Your personal coverage extends to car rentals as well. Great job explaining all this!
Mark T. Freeley, Esq. January 05, 2012 at 03:06 PM
It is crucial for all Police Officers, State Troopers, and all Law Enforcement Officers to obtain the very most Uninsured/Underinsured coverage on their own cars that they can get. This will provide them coverage for all on the job injuries if they are struck by a stolen, uninsured, or minimally insured vehicle. Almost all county, state, town, city owned vehicles are self insured and DO NOT have any Uninsured/Underinsured coverage, so the officer will only be able to rely upon their OWN car insurance to be properly compensated for their injuries. I have many family members and friends in law enforcement and I make sure they all have this coverage. I have represented many Suffolk, Nassau, NYC officers and NYS Troopers for on the job injuries and many of them have had to rely upon their own car insurance for adequate compensation.

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