If you watch an hour of television these days you are likely to see an advertisement for car insurance. I know, lawyers are fine ones to talk about advertising. It is worth noting, though, that we are seeing a shift in how insurance is sold and in the type of products being offered. Increasingly ads are promoting policies that “keep you legal” or provide “state minimum coverage”. You are told that you don’t need an agent. You can sign up online, or you can call the 800 number. There is even an ad that depicts an insurance agent as a middle man just adding to the cost of the transaction.
An agent is more than a sales person. A good insurance agent will review with you what your needs are and how various policy options will work. Increasingly I see clients with poor insurance coverage and no understanding of how it works. The least helpful time to have someone explain your coverage to you is AFTER you have been in a car accident.
The ads don’t really explain what it means to have state minimum coverage. In Kentucky that means that you have $25,000 of liability insurance, which is insurance to pay someone else if you cause a bodily injury or death. That is what the law requires. What happens if you hurt someone badly and their claim is worth more than $25,000? You can be responsible for the difference. Some people are what we call “judgment proof”, which means that they have no income, money or property that could be taken to satisfy a judgment. If you are judgment proof you may be comfortable with minimum liability coverage. If, on the other hand, you have wages that can be garnished and property that can be seized, you should really think about procuring better coverage to protect your assets and to keep yourself from being embroiled in the litigation of a car accident claim.
A really cheap car insurance policy might include deductibles, including a $1,000 deductible on your no-fault (PIP) coverage. A no-fault deductible leaves you without coverage on your first $1,000 of wage loss or medical bills, which your health insurance may or may not pick up. “Insurance for less” may not include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and is unlikely to include collision coverage for damages to your own car.
In a tough economy people make tough choices and you may not be able to afford the best policy available, but Long Island car accident attorney | Cohen & Jaffe do recommend that you at least meet with a respected agent and review your options. Know what you are giving up for every dollar saved.