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Injured by an Accident? It's Important to Understand Your Auto Insurance

Auto-insurance – whether it’s a great policy or no coverage at all – has a direct impact on an individual’s experience with auto-injury. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand their coverage or don’t prioritize it before they really need it. But when it gets to that point, it’s too late to make changes to fix a problem. That’s why it’s important to be thorough. You may also want to consider expanding your coverage.

Auto Accidents are Harder than Ever to Avoid

Drunk driving has been a hazard to drivers and a major cause of accidents since the creation of the automobile. One of the worst bus accidents with more fatalities than any other drunk driving accident in the U.S. happened in Kentucky in 1988. It involved mostly teenagers with 27 fatalities. This devastating incident should be a deterrence to all Kentuckians for drinking and driving. Since we cannot control the decisions of other drivers, it should also remind us to do all we can to protect ourselves and our families in the case of injury from a collision with a drunk driver.

A new hazard sweeping the nation, becoming more prevalent for causing an accident than drunk driving, is distracted driving. Again, even the most careful driver can be a victim since they can’t control the decisions of others. Expanding one’s insurance coverage can be one of the best safeguards in case of this kind of accident.

Sometimes an accident involves an injury to someone where the other driver was at fault but is uninsured. Even if the driver at fault has assets, many individuals do not want to go after those assets when it’s someone’s home, etc. In these circumstances, having a policy that includes uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage is extremely helpful. It’s these options we want to be sure you fully understand.

Ancillary Coverage You Should Consider

Understanding your insurance policy is very important. One aspect many policyholders in Kentucky do not know is that they are automatically given $10,000 in coverage just by having a policy. This money covers medical bills and lost income because of a wreck. It can even include lost services if there are responsibilities outside of your job that you can’t fulfill while recovering from an injury. This coverage is called “No-Fault” because it’s allotted to you no matter what. This is a benefit of having insurance, however, for many people this figure is definitely not enough to match their income or to completely cover medical expenses. This is why you may want to consider other ancillary coverage options. You might consider:

1. Liability Insurance- This protects your assets if a claim is made against you because you were at fault for an accident. The amount for this coverage is dependent on your assets. This does not help you when someone else is at fault. It also does not help with your own injuries. It protects you if you caused injury to someone else.

2. Collision Coverage- This pays for damage to your vehicle, usually accompanied by a deductible. If you want to repair or replace your vehicle, this coverage is helpful, especially if the other driver has no coverage or poor coverage.

3. “Added” PIP- You have the option to have more than the $10,000 automatically available. This is a good thing to have. When $10,000 was chosen as the financial figure for “No Fault” coverage it was decades ago, and it does not align with the cost of living today.

4. Uninsured Motorist- This coverage can make a huge difference in your experience with an auto accident, and you can have great coverage at a low cost. If you or a family member is injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, this helps with those injuries when the driver at fault is uninsured. A reckless driver is more likely to make the bad decision of also driving uninsured. But the impact of their poor judgement doesn’t have to extend beyond the moments just after the accident for you. You will still receive compensation through uninsured motorist coverage, or UM.

5. Underinsured Motorist- Similar to the previous coverage, this will cover you if the driver at fault has inadequate insurance coverage that does not cover your injury or losses. The minimum coverage a driver in Kentucky has to have is relatively low – $25,000. So, it’s likely many of the drivers you encounter have inadequate coverage.

Be Thorough with Your Auto Insurance

Here are some other best practices recommended for managing your auto insurance.

  • Read every word of your policy. If you haven’t done this before, that’s not uncommon. But it’s not wise. You can consult a professional like a lawyer or your insurance provider to walk you through every section.
  • Be sure you understand all your options like the ones we’ve mentioned earlier.
  • Review your coverage regularly and BEFORE you’re in the tough situation of the auto accident aftermath.
  • Be sure you see the insurance card(s) of the other driver(s) when you’re involved in an accident. Also get other information of any person involved including passengers. You can read about steps to take right after an auto accident in our recent post.
  • Always be as thorough as possible when listing injuries on a PIP form. Consider consulting an attorney or doctor for help in filling out PIP forms. This is one area of insurance where people find the most loopholes that do not benefit the policyholder.
  • For claiming lost wages, always include a PIP claim form, verification of employment, and a statement from the doctor treating you mentioning your injuries and any restrictions because of the injury.
  • You should retain copies of any paperwork you receive which has to do with your claim, injury, or expenses. You will need proof that you did your due diligence if you feel the insurance company does not fulfill their end.

An automobile accident is an unfortunate thing made even more difficult when it involves injury. At Kentucky Pain Associates we want to help you navigate the physical pain you experience from that injury. But we hope you will not experience a painful process with your insurance company. We want you to be equipped to choose the best coverage for you.

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