You’ve been in a car accident and hire a car accident lawyer to represent you. Of course, you didn’t want your choice of a lawyer for your accident case to turn into an “attorney accident,” so you chose an experienced personal injury lawyer. Trouble is, the lawyer tells you that you may not be able to recover as much compensation as you should.
Why? All because you didn’t choose the right car insurance coverage. If you make the wrong car insurance choices, even the best lawyer may not be able to help you fully.
Don’t ever let that happen you. Here are five tips for New Jersey drivers on purchasing adequate car accident insurance.
5 INSURANCE COVERAGES YOUR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY WANTS YOU TO HAVE
1. Don’t select the “limitation on lawsuit” option. This option is also known as the “limited right to sue” option. If you choose this option, you will not be able to get compensation for many common types of accident injuries. Instead, choose the “UNLIMITED right to sue.”
2. Buy as much uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) coverage as you can. This insurance protects you if you are injured by a driver who does not carry liability insurance. It also protects you if a driver who carries very little liability insurance hurts you. Consider purchasing at least $500,000.00 of such coverage.
3. Buy as much car accident medical insurance as your insurer offers. Generally, a New Jersey insurer will offer at least $250,000 in such coverage. This medical coverage protects you against medical expenses arising from your car accident injuries. It is known as “personal injury protection,” or “PIP” coverage. You need it even if you have existing health insurance. (See next tip).
4. Don’t choose the “health insurance primary” option. This option lets your existing health insurance be your primary insurance against car crash injuries, instead of PIP. (See tip 3). Trouble is, in some cases, your primary health insurer can recover whatever it pays out in medical expenses out of your settlement award. That may mean you walk away with little or no money. If you choose PIP, your portion of the settlement generally will be yours to keep.
5. Always inform your insurance company of the true address where you keep your car, and of the identities of all licensed drivers in your household. It may be insurance fraud if you fail to do so. That’s a crime. Moreover, such fraud may void coverage in the event of an accident.
HELP YOUR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP YOU: DON’T SKIMP ON INSURANCE
The common thread to all the above is that sometimes people try to save money on insurance premiums by reducing coverage. Please don’t make that mistake. After all, buying insurance that won’t protect you when you have an accident is like buying no insurance. And that’s not smart.
(Final note: Of course, these five tips are not everything that you need to know about car insurance coverage options. But they are a good start. Consult the buying guide that comes with your coverage selection form for further information.)