Take a moment to review and understand your policies, including your:
- Auto Liability coverage
- Auto Property damage coverage
- Underinsured motorist coverage
- Medical Payments Coverage
- Rental Car Coverage
- Homeowners Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Renters Insurance
- Insurance for Off-road Vehicles and Boats
- Health Insurance
Happy New Year to all of our client’s, colleagues and vendors! We look forward to a prosperous year working together. The New Year brings an opportunity to change old habits and review our finances. It is always good to take a moment to reflect and prepare for the upcoming year.
Hence, now is a good time to take a look at the insurance policies that you have in place as well as any needs or changes that you may have coming up in the coming year. These may include new babies, new drivers, new homes, home improvement, new cars, physical challenges etc. Insurance covers almost every aspect of our lives and it is important to know what coverages you have before it is too late to change them in a time of need. Below is a list of what I consider to be the top 10 most important issues to look at when reviewing the most common types of insurance coverages:
1) Auto Insurance Liability Coverage: This is the coverage that protects you in the event that you are involved in an at fault accident and get sued by another driver. Often times people look for the least expensive coverage and accidents occur and they get sued. At that time they find out they don’t have enough coverage to protect their assets. It is important to know that if your insurance is not sufficient to compensate someone who is injured by you in an accident, they can seek recovery against your personal assets including your home and bank accounts. It is important to renew your insurance coverage and make sure that your limits protect your assets. For example if you own a home and you have $100,000 in equity in your home, you really should have insurance liability coverage in the amount of 100/300 (meaning $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.)
2) Property Damage Coverage: The state minimum for property damage in Nevada is $20,000. This means that if you have a state minimum policy and you crash into a Lamborghini by glancing at your cell phone and running a light, you will be personally liable for the property damage in excess of $20,000 done to that vehicle. It is extremely important that your property damage limits reflect the city that you live in and are sufficient to cover some of the more expensive vehicles on the road in the event that you are an accident involving one of those types of vehicles. In fact, almost every new vehicle on the road has a value of over $20,000.00.
3). Underinsured Motorist Coverage: (UM/UIM) This is automobile coverage on your policy that you pay for that covers you for personal injuries and medical bills in the event that the other driver either has a very small policy and cannot cover your bills or has no insurance at all. If you are in an accident that is not your fault, it is not automatic that you will recover damages. You can only recover what the other driver has for insurance or assets. If the other driver has no insurance and no assets, you could be stuck for your own medical bills through no fault of your own. It is important to contact your agent or go online to look at your policy and make sure that you have underinsured motorist coverage to cover you in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver. On any average given day in Nevada, statistics show that 10% to 15% of all drivers on the road are not insured. Don’t let yourself be victimized twice by getting into an accident and getting into an accident with an uninsured driver.
4) Medical Payments Coverage: This is coverage that you pay a very minimal amount for on your policy that provides immediate funds for medical bills that come in following a car accident. People often assume that the other drivers insurance policy will start paying your bills right away. Unfortunately, it does not work this way. They will not pay you until you have fully recovered and can make a total claim for your injuries. However, you may have ambulance and hospital bills coming in in the meantime. This is where medical payments coverage can help cover you and prevent those bills from going to collections by paying those bills immediately. This is an often overlooked coverage that can provide great comfort and relief in the event that you are involved in an accident
5) Rental Car Coverage: Again, it is very important that you have rental car coverage on your own policy. If you are in an accident and have rental coverage your company will put you in a rental vehicle immediately. The other side will have to investigate and often wait for the police report or to talk to their own insured who is often not cooperative. If you do not have rental insurance coverage on your own policy you may have to wait a week to two weeks to be put into a rental car by the other driver or come out of pocket yourself and hope to be reimbursed. Having your own rental car coverage can protect you and your family and allow you to conduct your life as needed including going to work and driving kids to school following an accident. Also, there are different types of rental coverage offered as to types of vehicles allowed and time allowed, so determine which coverage works best for you and your family.
6) Homeowners Insurance: It is always a good idea to review your homeowners policy on all properties that you own at the beginning of the year. Make sure that the values reflected in your declarations page adequately reflect your home’s value and any improvements you have made. For example if you have substantially remodeled your home and not reviewed your homeowners policy, your policy may not cover certain improvements that you made because they were not included when you purchased the policy. Take a moment to review your declarations page and make sure it’s consistent with the value of your home at this time. Also, if you have purchased substantial jewelry or any other valuable electronics over and above the average allowance on the homeowners policy, you will want to add that to your policy. Do not wait until it is too late and you have suffered a loss to review these coverages.
7) Life Insurance: Make sure your life insurance policies are up-to-date and reflect the needs of your family. Sometimes people obtain these policies and additional children are born and policies in place are insufficient to take care of the family in the event of a tragedy. Be sure to take a moment to know what your coverages are and make sure they are sufficient to protect your family.
8) Renters Insurance: Often times people do not even think of this coverage or they assume that their landlord will be liable for the loss of their personal possessions. This is not the case. If you are renting a home or an apartment and a fire or other disaster were to break out causing loss of the property, your personal items would not be covered. For this reason, it is important that you look into renters insurance to cover all of your personal belongings in a rental property in the event of a disaster.
9) Insurance for Off-road Vehicles and Boats: We have found in our practice that people often do not think of ensuring their boats or ATVs. Or they assume they are covered on a policy they already have. That is generally not the case. If you have purchased ATVs, four wheelers including Razors, Rhinos, Rangers, etc., these can be expensive off-road vehicles that need to be insured independently. This is the same for boats, jet skis and any other recreational vehicle you may own.
10) Health Insurance: This is a difficult subject and policies are all over the board on this. Most people don’t understand their policy or coverages. If you are fortunate to work for a corporation and have insurance through your company, you may want to contact HR if you have any events coming up such as major surgeries or childbirth to review your coverages. If you are purchasing health insurance, it is a vast sea of inequality and you will need to make sure that you review any potential policy closely. In our practice, we have unfortunately seen people taken advantage of time and again by “health insurance companies” who charge money for “Policy“ and the policy covers almost nothing. Do your research and make sure you understand what your coverages are getting before you purchase any type of health insurance policy independently.
If you or a loved one has a question about your insurance coverages, please don’t hesitate to call our office. Also, if you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. 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.
At the Law Offices of Laura Payne 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 Payne 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.