The New Year is the Perfect Time to Review Your Auto Insurance Coverage

Date: January 8, 2018

Review Your Current Car Insurance Policy

It is hard to believe that 2017 has ended and 2018 has arrived.  Everyone at Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP  wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy New Year.  We also would like to suggest that the start of the New Year is a great time to review your Automobile Coverages with your insurance agent.  Most important is to ask whether you have FULL COVERAGE or LIMITED COVERAGE—FULL TORT or LIMITED TORT? The saddest experience for the lawyers at DLP is when an innocent victim of an auto/truck accident meets with us and for the first time is told that they do NOT have full coverage.  Many clients—if not most—are unaware of this fact until after an accident occurs.   In simple terms, if you have chosen “limited tort” or in plain language, “limited coverage” you cannot recover for personal injuries unless you sustain what is known as “serious bodily injury or impairment”.   Unless your injuries are obviously very serious, this standard can be hard to prove and you may receive no compensation.  Whether taking this risk is worth it or not depends on your financial circumstances and exactly how much you are saving on your premiums by choosing the limited coverage option.  Ask your agent for specifics.  You may be surprised by how little you are saving in exchange for giving up so much in terms of your legal rights to recovery.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

Another very important coverage issue to discuss with your agent is “UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED” motorist coverages.  These are the MOST important coverages you can have under your auto insurance policies.  These coverages protect you, your family and your friends and loved ones in the event you are struck and injured by a careless and negligent driver who either has NO insurance—uninsured—or who has little or very limited insurance—underinsured.  The law requires that you have the SAME amount of uninsured/underinsured coverage as you have liability coverage.   In other words, if you have $100,000 in liability coverage to protect you and your assets in the event that you are careless, cause an accident and hurt somebody, you are required to have $100,000 in UI/UIM coverage to protect you in the event you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured careless driver.  In order to have LESS UI/UIM coverage, you must sign a waiver.   Talk to your agent if you have signed a waiver and been given the lesser coverage.  Again, ask why this was recommended and ask how much in premiums you are saving for giving up this most important coverage.  You may find that the cost of giving up your rights was NOT worth the risk.

Stacking your UM/UIM auto insurance coverage

Finally, you should check with your agent to make sure that you have UI/UIM STACKING.   Again, under the law if you own more than one car, your UI/UIM limits are added together—STACKED—to give you added coverage.   If you have $100,000 in UI/UIM benefits and you own two (2) cars, you automatically have $200,000 in UI/UIM benefits.  This can only be changed by your agent having you sign a waiver of stacking.   Why would you want to do this? Only if you are saving significant money on your premiums and are willing to take the risk.  Have your agent explain everything to you if you review your policy and you have waived your rights to stack your UI/UIM benefits.    Once you are severely injured in an accident that was not your fault, it will be too late to ask.

If you have any questions regarding your automobile insurance coverages, please feel free to call the attorneys at DLP for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.