Understanding Auto Insurance and Ensuring You Have Sufficient Coverage

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Understanding Auto Insurance and Ensuring You Have Sufficient Coverage

Understanding automobile insurance coverage is essential when you insure your vehicle or if you are involved in an automobile accident.  This is why having an excellent agent with a reputable insurance company is so important.

Liability Coverage for Bodily Injury

Missouri and Kansas require drivers to maintain at least $25,000.00 of liability coverage per person for bodily injury, and this limit has not been increased in decades.  Liability coverage is intended to protect both the injured victims in a car accident, as well as the person who caused the accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you will want to make sure the at-fault driver has adequate coverage.  Sadly, some drivers don’t have any coverage, and many drivers are underinsured (that is, they don’t have sufficient coverage to cover your injuries).  This is why having a good insurance agent can be very beneficial—a good agent will make sure you have adequate underinsured and uninsured insurance coverage (more on this to come at a later date).  Further, this additional coverage is generally inexpensive.

If, on the other hand, an accident is your fault, you want to be sure you have adequate coverage to take care of and to compensate the other driver (and passengers, if any) for their injuries, and to pay your legal defense costs, if any.  Unfortunately, $25,000 is often not enough to cover an injured person’s medical bills and pain and suffering, and if you do not have adequate coverage, you could be responsible for paying for the injured person’s medical bills and other expenses to the extent they exceed the amount of coverage you have.  This is why it is important to talk with a good insurance agent who can make sure you are adequately protected. And obtaining additional coverage is also usually relatively inexpensive.

Liability Coverage for Property Damage

Another type of auto liability coverage covers damage to property (another person’s vehicle or damage to private or public property).  This coverage pays for the damages caused to another person’s property, such as their car and its contents. This coverage also applies to “diminution of value claims,” which is the loss of value to an automobile because the automobile has been involved in an accident.   Diminution of value claims do not apply to cars that are deemed a total loss.

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payments coverage is another type of optional coverage that drivers can purchase.  This is a “no-fault” coverage that pays for medical bills resulting from an accident for the policyholder, passengers, and family members who are driving or who are in the covered vehicle at the time of the accident.

How Do I Proceed After a Car Accident That Was Not My Fault?

If you’ve been involved in a collision that was not your fault, call the police immediately.  When the police arrive, tell them what happened. If anyone has been injured, call 9-1-1, and if you have been injured, make sure you describe your injuries to EMS and that you get treatment for your injuries by going to the hospital and getting checked out in the emergency room.

If possible, collect as much information as you can about the other driver such as their name, address, license plate number, telephone number, and insurance information (make sure to get the name of the company and the policy number).  Also, take photos of the scene and damage to each of the vehicles (and other property) involved. If there are witnesses, make sure to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers.

What Do I Do Next?

The most important thing to do is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney and to do so soon, before speaking with the other driver’s insurance company.  There are various deadlines that apply to every case, including statutes of limitations, and an experienced personal injury attorney will ensure that all deadlines are met.  Further, the attorney will handle opening the claim or claims with each insurer and will deal with the insurance company throughout the claims process so that you don’t have to do so.  This allows you to focus on your medical treatment. An experienced personal injury attorney can also help in dealing with medical bills and other liens that may have to be paid from a settlement.  If you have been involved in a car accident, or if you want to talk with an attorney about adequate insurance coverage, call Aaron House today for a free consultation at 816-875-4260.

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