Are All Car Insurance Policies the Same? Is There Anything Worth Paying For? [SPONSORED]
We’ve partnered with the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C. to offer advice as to what ‘extras’ you may need when purchasing car insurance.
By Thomas Manzo
Too often our “what if ” questions about car accidents are put to rest without much thought. We tell ourselves “we have insurance for that.” We like our insurance agent, which tends to bring a sense of comfort. We feel protected and expect coverage, especially when we pay relatively high premiums. Insurance companies market to us accordingly. They tell us they are “like a good neighbor” or that we are “in good hands.”
But if you get in an accident, the unfortunate reality is that neither the commercial slogans nor the friendly voice of your insurance agent have any bearing on your insured status. The language of your policy and the limits you chose determine your fate.
What does this mean? In New Jersey, it means you need to look at your own policy for medical coverage for any injuries as a result of an accident, no matter who was at fault. Prior to the accident, you chose the limits for this coverage. Even if you sustain serious injuries and treatment costs exceed these limits, coverage can’t be retroactively increased.
Another concern is liability coverage. You need to be well-covered in the event you cause an accident and injure someone else. Such coverage protects your personal assets and helps to ensure compensation for someone you may have accidentally injured.
What happens if someone injures you in an accident? You can’t choose the insurance for the other guy. If the owner or operator of that vehicle has a policy with a low liability limit, no matter how serious and permanent your injuries may be, there is a high probability that your recovery will be capped at that low limit.
To prevent this from happening, maintain Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your policy. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident by someone with either no insurance, or insufficient coverage, UM/UIM coverage allows you to turn to your own policy for further compensation.
The importance of understanding your coverage and ensuring its adequacy cannot be overstated. For those of you with families, understand that you are making coverage decisions not only for you, but for your minor children who live with you.