HOW TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE

 

  • Know what coverages you need to protect your family and property
  • Understand the types of coverages available.
  • When buying insurance, do not simply follow the prompts on the website
  • If you can, purchase your insurance from a reputable agent that will sit down with you and take the time to understand your insurance needs.
  • Compare the costs for the amounts of the difference in coverages you can purchase.
  • The most common coverages are Liability, Collision, Rental, Towing, Med-pay and UM/UIM

 

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends and family members as an attorney handling insurance claims is “what kind of insurance do I need?”  In fact, one of the most frequent things we hear from client’s when they come in the offices is, “I have full coverage.” Unfortunately, the term “full coverage” does not mean you have the right coverage or enough coverage.  Having reviewed hundreds of insurance policies over the years, it has become clear to me that most people mistakenly think they are covered for things they are not actually covered for under their policy.

If it is possible, you should go to a reputable and knowledgeable insurance agent who will sit down with you and go over what type of coverage you need to protect yourself and your family when buying insurance.  Insurance Agents are skilled at reviewing coverages and the cost differences to provide you with the peace of mind that you actually have the “right coverage.” If you are able to use an insurance agent, I would highly recommend that you purchase your insurance from an agent.  Understanding the various insurance coverages available can be difficult, and often times a large increase in coverage comes with very little rate increase. There are additional resources on-line to help you understand the different coverages available. https://www.dmv.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage.php  . Auto insurance. Org also has some good information at https://www.autoinsurance.org/types-of-auto-insurance-coverage/

It is extremely important to understand what insurance coverages are available when buying auto insurance and what the different coverages mean in the event that you are injured or your property is damaged or you have injured someone else.   Most auto insurance policies are relatively simple to understand if you know the terminology they use. The following are the types of coverages that you will be asked if you buy, whether you are buying online or buying form an agent. Your decisions and the options you chose can be critical to your well-being in the event that you or someone you love on your policy is injured in an accident.

  1. Liability Coverage (often called bodily injury coverage) is what is required by law.   What that means is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay for property damage and bodily injury for the other driver and passengers ( a.k.a. third-parties) in the event you cause an automobile accident. In Nevada, state minimum is 15/30/10 and will be changing to 25/50/20 as of July 1, 2018.  http://doi.nv.gov/Consumers/Automobile_Insurance/Higher_Minimum_Vehicle_Liability_Requirements/Most people do not know what those numbers mean and it is important that you understand the terminology.  When there are three numbers, the first number is the amount your insurance company will pay per person for bodily injury; meaning, they will pay $25,000 per person per accident under the new law. The second number is the amount your insurance company will pay per accident for bodily injury; meaning they will pay $50,000 combined for all persons injured per accident under the new law.  For example if you get into an automobile collision and it is your fault and there’s one person in the other vehicle they can only obtain $25,000 from your insurance company. However, if their damages exceed the $25,000.00, they can collect that overage directly from you.  If they are seriously injured, that could be substantial. If there were two people in the vehicle they could obtain $25,000 each. However, if they were three or more people in that vehicle, the $50,000 would be split between those people if they were injured depending on their degree of injury. In today’s exorbitant world of medical billing, $25,000 does not go very far. The third number is the total amount your insurance company will pay for property damage to the other vehicle or property such as a damaged road signs as a result of the accident. If you purchase a minimum insurance policy you could wind up being personally exposed. Meaning, if there’s not enough insurance coverage to compensate the other drivers’ loss, the other driver could sue you and obtain a judgment against your personal assets to recover their damages. For this reason, it is extremely important to insure yourself and your family as high as you can afford to in order to protect your personal assets. Meaning if you own your home, and you have savings accounts, you want to make sure that you have enough insurance. I often recommended umbrella policy to people which is usually a cost of approximately $20-$30 per month and will protect your assets.  An Umbrella policy provides a higher layer of coverage for your auto, home, boat, etc. on top of your limits, usually in the amount of a million dollars.
  2. Collision Coverage is the second type of coverage and the coverage which most people consider to be “full coverage”. Collision coverage means that repairs to your vehicle will be made in the event that your car is damaged in an accident. If you purchase collision coverage, that coverage will cover damage to your automobile. It is extremely important to know what your deductible is. Often times, changing your deductible from $1000.00 down to $500.00 is as little as $8.00 to $10.00 on your overall premium. It is important that you check what you’re paying for and what you could get for just a little bit more or sometimes little change at all.   Ask the agent to tell the cost differences for different deductibles or coverages. When you go to the store, you can see all the items on the shelf and you can see what all the items cost and their value so you can choose accordingly. If you want to pay fifty cents more for stronger paper towels you can easily make that choice. Unfortunately, with buying insurance, they don’t make it that simple. You have to ask these questions either of the agents or when you’re buying online you need to change the deductibles and change your coverages and see how it affects your premium.
  3. Medical Payments coverage and this can be extraordinarily important for you if you are in an accident.  Medical Payments Coverage is usually a fixed amount anywhere from $1000.00, or $2,000.00, or $5,000.00 on up. It means that your insurance company will pay your medical bills regardless of whether you have health insurance if you are in an automobile accident and you’re injured. Medical payments coverage can be very important because often times you may have large co-pays, especially for ambulance bills, from an accident. Health insurance often will not cover things like physical therapy as much as you need or you may have large deductible on your health insurance policy. Medical payments coverage is generally an inexpensive coverage which will protect you from out of pocket medical expenses if you are in an accident. It’s important to know that even if it is not your fault, it can take months or years to recover money from the other driver. Your medical providers, (hospitals, ambulances, quick cares, etc.) will not wait until the claim is settled to send you to collections. When purchasing insurance always look at what medical payments coverage is available and the cost. If it fits your budget, you should purchase medical payments to protect yourself
  4. UM/UIM is another extremely important coverage that people often drop to save money. This means uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured is self-explanatory, it means that if someone without insurance hits you, you have coverage for your medical bills and injuries. Underinsured coverage means that if someone with a small policy, like the state minimum of $25,000 hits you and you are seriously injured, you can recover against your own policy after the $25,000.00 is paid from the other driver. In the state of Nevada, it is estimated that 15% of all drivers on the road do not have car insurance.  It is extremely important to protect yourself and your assets from reckless and illegal drivers. In the state of Nevada, when you purchase insurance, the insurance company is required to offer you UM/UIM benefits and if you reject the same they must have you sign a waiver. Think carefully before you reject these benefits because if you are in a serious accident these benefits could protect you and your loved ones from undue financial burden.
  5. Towing coverage can be invaluable to you if you are involved in an accident. These are somewhat self-explanatory; however, there are a few tricks. When looking at your towing coverage, always check the amount of miles that they will tow your vehicle. Sometimes they have separate towing packages where they’ll only tow your vehicle 5 -10 miles and then you are at the mercy of the tow truck company for the rest of the bill. It’s often pennies to change the policy to a better towing policy where they will tow you up to 100 miles.  You never know when you are going to get into an accident. AND ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAR TOWED TO YOUR HOME.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE AT THE MERCY OF THE SALVAGE YARD TO HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR VEHICLE.  
  6. Rental Car Coverage — If you drive a large vehicle to take your family places and haul groceries, and you are need of a rental car from an auto accident, most policies will offer you the $20 a day, very basic economy car.  This may not fit your needs, and if it does not, it can be very costly to you to rent a larger vehicle. When purchasing rental insurance you usually have the option of $20-$30 a day or $50 a day in rental coverage. Again, this is generally a very inexpensive change on the policy.  When purchasing rental insurance, check to see if the cost of having a better vehicle in the event that you need a rental car makes sense for your family. Often, it is less than five dollars on the policy.

If you are shopping for automobile insurance and have question please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.  There are also many online resources that can help you estimate the costs of insurance and what is average. https://www.carinsurance.com/types-of-car-insurance  Remember your driving history will impact your rates. It is important to understand the coverages you are buying and the coverages you need.  https://wallethub.com/edu/med-pay/9255/   At my office, we are experienced in reviewing injury and property damage claims and coverages.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review all of the coverages available in order to maximize the money you receive.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.