We hear about it all of the time; people being hurt in accidents by another driver who is either under-insured or carries no insurance whatsoever on their vehicle. Of course, by law, every driver must maintain insurance coverage on their vehicle. This not only a good idea, but it can protect you from difficult financial times if you cannot afford to pay for extensive vehicle repairs following an accident.
As a Maryland automobile accident lawyer, I know that car crashes happen with alarming frequency. As drivers, we may not expect to be caught in a highway collision with an 18-wheeler, but it could happen. Similarly, nobody wants to think about having their car stolen or vandalized, but in dense urban centers such as Baltimore, Annapolis and the District, this is always a concern.
From time to time it’s a good idea to look at auto insurance and reacquaint oneself with the available policies and coverages. We ran into an article on choosing the right car insurance and it had several important points to make. In general, however, automobile insurance boils down to deciding how much one is willing to pay out-of-pocket for possible repairs versus how much the insurance company may have to pay.
Many car owners feel that purchasing car insurance to be a bit confusing. The first step is to figure out your needs and then examine available policies in order to understand what your potential risk will be and how much you will be willing to take on yourself. There as a number of factors to consider, such as understanding your specific needs, knowing which discounts you may qualify for, being aware of Maryland’s specific legal requirements, among others.
One key is picking a policy with a balanced deductible. This is the key to choosing a policy because it states the amount that you, the owner, are willing to pay to have the vehicle made right after a crash. The deductible you choose will usually have a direct bearing on the size of the premium you end up paying for you car insurance policy.
Another important factor would be what state law requires of an owner. Here in Maryland, as in a handful of other states, state law requires you to have personal injury protection (PIP). This insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages that you may incur as a result of a car accident.
You’ll also need to understand the various types of coverage. A good way to look at car insurance policies is to realize that they are actually a “package” of different coverages — some may be optional, others are required by law.
Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damages to others. This coverage provides for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Costs for property damage and repairs to other individuals’ automobiles of other parties are also included under liability coverage, which also provides for your legal defense and court costs.
Collision coverage is specifically designed to provide for the repair cost to your vehicle in the case of a collision with another car, truck or other object.
Comprehensive coverage provides for damage to your vehicle resulting from non-traffic-related accidents such as fire, wind damage, hail or flood damage, vandalism or theft.
Medical coverage provides for payment of medical expenses resulting from a traffic accident regardless of who was at fault.
Personal injury protection (PIP), as previously stated, pays for medical expenses of the driver, injured in auto insurance regardless of the fault.
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to pay for damages when a car crash is caused by someone who either has no liability insurance or insufficient coverage.
Rental reimbursement may seem like a luxury, but for some people it may be a necessity, especially if they don’t have alternate transportation while their vehicle is being repaired after a collision. This coverage usually provides a small daily allowance to offset the cost of a rental car.
Selecting the Right Car Insurance, TheMoneyTimes.com, September 21, 2010