HOW MUCH BODILY INJURY LIABILIY COVERAGE SHOULD YOU HAVE?

1)  You are less likely to get dragged into a lawsuit if you are at fault;

2) You are less likely to have personal exposure of your own assets;

3) You will be able to cover the damages of anyone you might injure in a car accident;

4) Family members in your car will be able to get their medical bills paid if you are at fault;

5) You will not have to file a bankruptcy if you have a major accident for which you are at fault.

As most people know, liability car insurance is required in almost every state in the United States.  Yes, I did say almost. Surprisingly only 49 of the 50 states in the United States require all drivers to have liability coverage. In the state of New Hampshire, you do not have to have liability coverage if you’re able to prove to the state that you can meet the minimum financial responsibility requirements in the event of an accident. What that means is that the state minimum liability coverage in New Hampshire is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and if you are in an auto accident and do not have liability insurance you would be required by the state to pay damages at least up to that amount out of your own pocket. Regardless of what state you are in, it would be very unwise to drive on the roadways without liability insurance. Every state has different requirements regarding liability insurance policies. Some states require underinsured motorist coverage or what is also known as personal injury protection. Other states only require bodily injury coverage and property damage liability coverage. Nevada is one of those states that only requires bodily injury a.k.a. liability insurance and property damage insurance for liability. The basic premise of insurance, although the laws and regulations vary from state to state, is to prevent people from being financially harmed by someone else’s negligence on the roadways.

The topic for this blog is how much liability insurance do you need to protect your family. Sadly, I think many people fail to ask themselves this question when purchasing their auto insurance.  The State of Nevada requires you to maintain a $25,000 per person $50,000 per accident liability insurance policy for bodily injury to drivers which you may injure in an auto accident for which you are at fault. Although there are many different coverages on most automobile policies, this blog is dedicated to how much coverage you should have for someone who is injured as a result of your own negligence in an auto accident.   Most experts recommend caring a policy that is $100,000 per person $300,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage.  What this means is that if you cause an auto accident, your auto insurance company will pay up to $100,000 for personal injuries to each occupant in the other vehicle or a total of $300,000 for a maximum. Practically speaking this means that if they were three people in the vehicle that you hit that were all injured seriously, they could potentially each recover $100,000 from your automobile liability insurance carrier. However, if there were four or more persons in a vehicle in which you were involved in the accident with and you were at fault, those injured persons would have to split a combined maximum of $300,000 to cover their injuries. With the cost of medical bills and hospitalizations, it does not take long for large medical bills to be incurred by persons injured in auto accidents.

DETERMINING HOW MUCH COVERAGE TO BUY

Whenever clients ask me about what kind of insurance they should have, I advise them to think of the worst-case scenario.  I know this is something we don’t like to think about. However, that is the purpose of insurance. When you buy a homeowner policy, they essentially tell you what the worst-case scenario is because most major insurance companies determine the amount of coverage that will be necessary to rebuild the dwelling and replace its contents. Unfortunately, when you buy liability insurance there is not as precise a measure of potential harm.  As an attorney who has handled thousands of auto accident claims both on behalf of a major insurance company and on behalf of the injured victims, I would strongly advise you to maintain enough liability coverage to protect you and your assets in the event of a major automobile collision.  You can also obtain what is called an umbrella policy which I will dedicate an upcoming blog to that type of policy. In a nutshell, an umbrella policy refers to a policy of insurance for liability that is over and above a.k.a. in excess of the underlying casualty liability policy. What this means is that it’s just another layer of coverage they can generally be purchased for a reasonable yearly cost from the same insurance company that you buy your auto insurance policy from and maintain. Most major carriers require a large underlying policy to purchase an umbrella policy. But the umbrella policy covers any accidents that may happen on your home policy and your auto policy. Traditionally most carriers require either a 100/300 or 250/250 policy in order to purchase an umbrella policy.

So, when determining how much automobile liability coverage you should have it is important to consider your underlying assets. If you have a large estate, for example if your home is paid for, you would be wise to have a large liability policy either 100/300 or 250/500 because if the damages of the people that you are involved in a collision with exceed your insurance policy, they could get a judgment and potentially seize your personal assets including your home or bank accounts. This is very scary to think about and that is why purchasing insurance to cover your personal property in the event that you are an accident is extremely important. Years ago, people would sit down with an agent and the agent will discuss their assets and their needs and advise them as to what type of policy would best protect them. There are still many great insurance agents, and I would highly recommend that when you purchase your insurance policy you make an appointment to sit down with an insurance agent from a major carrier and discuss your insurance needs. They will assist you in purchasing your policies with your needs in mind. Unfortunately, many people buy insurance online, sometimes late at night, with an iPad.  I find late night iPad surfing to be a great time to catch up on the news, it is not necessarily a good time to make major purchases like insurance. Although I say that with some sarcasm, it is the world we live in. We live in a world where people buy everything online and often times, we are doing so many things at once that we do not start to really look at the buttons we are pushing.   We are just trying to get to the end and buy. However, when buying insurance, it is extremely important that you consider the needs of you and your family and the potential losses that could be incurred if you do not have the proper insurance coverage.

For example, let’s say you are driving home from work one night and you get a frantic call from a dear friend that tragedy has occurred in your family. As you were talking to your friend traffic slams to a halt, and you look up and before you know it you have struck the car in front of you at a high rate of speed and the car has been pushed into another car which has spun into the sidewall and now there are three or four cars involved in this collision that happened almost instantaneously. As you collect your thoughts and get out of the car and start to call 911, that is not the time that you want to consider how much insurance coverage you are carrying.  It is important to consider these types of scenarios at the time that you purchase your automobile liability coverage. If there are more than two or three cars in a collision, damages can quickly exceed six figures. Again, I urge you to sit down with an experienced insurance agent when purchasing your car insurance.

At the Offices of TheOneLawyer.com, we have over 20 years of experience in the insurance litigation industry and are happy to discuss your insurance needs at any time. We are not insurance agents, so we do not promote any carrier, nor can we advise on cost of coverages, but we can discuss what you should be looking for when you go out to purchase your insurance and what type of coverages will cover the damages that you may be facing. For any questions regarding your automobile insurance policy coverages please do not hesitate to contact us at TheOneLawyer.com.

By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your injury claim. At TheOneLawyer.com we will quickly obtain the report for you.   Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of insurance policies.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your injury claim and maximize the money you receive in your pocket after your bills and fees are paid.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our 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 have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff 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 Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, 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.