Tax time is an excellent time to take stock of things and make better decisions going forward. NJ car insurance is an excellent candidate for this kind of “spring cleaning”. Experienced car accident attorney Francis M. Smith, Esq. reminds New Jersey drivers to look over their auto insurance policies to ensure that they are adequately covered in the event of an accident. To this end, he offers a free eBook, The New Jersey Car Insurance Buyer's Guide, to help drivers learn the facts about their policies. In his book, Mr. Smith recommends seven types of coverage drivers should be certain their policy includes.
- Make sure the standard policy option has been chosen, NOT the basic policy.
- Choose PIP primary, rather than Health Care Primary, coverage.
- Select the $250,000 PIP medical expense coverage option.
- Pick the “no limitation on lawsuit” option.
- Buy both liability coverage and UM/UIM (uninsured/under-insured motorist) coverage.
- For additional protection, purchase a personal catastrophe liability umbrella with limits of at least $1 million.
Why These Auto Insurance Coverages Are Important
1. Make sure the standard policy option has been chosen, NOT the basic policy.The basic insurance policy option offers only the bare bones minimum protection required under NJ car insurance law, and generally does not provide adequate coverage in the event of an accident.
PIP, or personal injury protection, is the coverage offered by NJ car insurance providers to pay their clients' medical bills. Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, medical bills generated by an automobile accident will always be paid by one's own insurance carrier, even if the other driver was at fault. However, if a driver chooses the health care primary option, their medical bills will be charged to their health insurance provider instead, which may not cover auto accidents, resulting in difficulty getting bills paid. Always choose PIP primary protection. Also, if there is a loss of health insurance after an accident, the means to get bills paid disappears.
2. Choose PIP primary, rather than Health Care Primary, coverage.
Insurance providers will try to sell customers on cheaper policies with lower premiums, and one of the “savings options” they suggest will include a lower maximum PIP coverage option. After an accident in which a driver is injured, however, they may find these “savings” costing the substantial amounts of money in unpaid medical bills. The smarter, safer choice is $250,000 PIP coverage.
3. Select the $250,000 PIP medical expense coverage option.
Another so-called “cost-saving” option that insurance companies offer is the choice to restrict the right to sue for pain and suffering and other types of damages only in the event that the accident victim sustains the most severe and permanent types of injuries. Insurance companies have stables of bought-and-paid-for doctors who will testify that victims' injuries are not permanent.
4. Pick the “no limitation on lawsuit” option.
These two types of coverage protect drivers in different ways. Liability coverage protects their assets in the event that they make a mistake on the road, causing an accident. UM/UIM coverage protects them in the event that another driver caused the accident that injured them, and that driver
5. Buy both liability coverage and UM/UIM (uninsured/under-insured motorist) coverage.
- was illegally driving without owning an insurance policy,
- was driving a stolen vehicle (which voids the insurance policy bought by its owner), or
- owned insurance, but the amount of coverage purchased was too low.
6. For additional protection, purchase a personal catastrophe liability umbrella with limits of at least $1 million.An umbrella policy provides drivers with extra protection in the event that they are sued.
Help When You Need It
If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious accident, please contact Francis M. Smith, Esq., email, or call at 908-233-5800 for a free consultation. Mr. Smith handles all types of personal injury cases throughout northern NJ, including Union County, Morris County, Essex County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County, Sussex County, and Warren County. He can meet you at his office in Mountainside NJ. For those who have special needs and cannot travel, Mr. Smith provides personal concierge legal services and will meet prospective clients where it is convenient and safe for them - whether it be at their home, the hospital, or a local coffee shop.