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  • Pennsylvania Automobile Accident Lawyers

     

    Auto Accident Insurance in Pennsylvania: Non-Required Coverages

    These coverages are not required to be in your auto insurance policy. They can be waived, or simply not purchased. You must make some important decisions with regard to these coverages.

    Uninsured Motorist

    This coverage protects you and your family if you are injured by a careless driver who has no insurance. It also covers you if the auto accident is caused by an unidentified driver who flees the accident scene. This option pays for pain and suffering, uncompensated medical expenses, uncompensated wage loss or the permanent decrease in your ability to perform work, and other damages. The insurance company must offer coverages in the following range: $15,000/30,000 to $100,000/300,000.
    However, your coverage cannot be at a higher amount than your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. Coverage of $100,000/300,000 (stacked) or higher is recommended. Uninsured Motorist coverage is one of the most important coverages on your policy. Unfortunately, there are many drivers who do not have insurance. If you or a family member is injured by an uninsured motorist the only way you can protect yourself is through uninsured motorist coverage.
    This coverage is so important that you should always have it in an equal amount to your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. You cannot buy uninsured motorist coverage in an amount higher than your Liability (Bodily Injury). Never sign a waiver of this coverage. This waiver is called “REJECTION OF UNINSURED MOTORIST PROTECTION.” Never sign a waiver for a coverage lower than your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. This waiver is called “UNINSURED COVERAGE LIMITS.” If you own more than one vehicle, you should “stack” these coverages. This means that you are permitted to add all the coverages together to get more coverage. NEVER sign a waiver of “stacking.” This waiver is entitled “UNINSURED COVERAGE LIMITS.” Note: Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist are the only coverages that can be “stacked.”

    Underinsured Motorist

    This coverage protects you and your family if you are injured by a careless driver who has low coverage. Suppose the person who hits you has only the bare minimum of insurance ($15,000). This may not come close to compensating your losses.In this situation, underinsured motorist coverage allows you and your family an additional source of coverage in the event the other driver’s insurance is not enough to cover your losses. Insurance companies must offer you coverages from $15,000/30,000 to $100,000/300,000.
    Underinsured Motorist coverage can not be at a higher amount than your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. Coverage of $100,000/300,000 (stacked) or higher is recommended. Underinsured Motorist coverage is one of the most important coverages on your policy. NEVER sign a waiver for this coverage. This waiver is called “REJECTION OF UNDERINSURED MOTORIST PROTECTION.” You cannot buy Underinsured Motorist Coverage in an amount higher than your Liability (Bodily Injury). NEVER sign a waiver for a coverage lower than your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. This waiver is called “UNDERINSURED COVERAGE LIMITS.” If you own more than one vehicle, you should “stack” these coverages to gain more coverage. NEVER sign a waiver of “stacking.” This waiver is entitled “UNDERINSURED COVERAGE LIMITS.”

    Full Tort Or Limited Tort?

    A tort is a legal term that means a “wrong” or injury to a person. For example: if you hit someone’s car and hurt them, you have committed a “tort” against that person. You must choose on your policy between Full Tort or Limited Tort coverage. If you choose Limited Tort, you give up your right to claim important compensation for injuries caused by another driver unless your injuries are deemed “serious.” A “serious” injury is one resulting in death, serious impairment of a bodily function or permanent serious impairment. DO NOT give up this right. NEVER sign a form in which you select “Limited Tort.” This form is called “NOTICE TO NAMED INSUREDS.” If you do sign this, the insurance company for the driver at fault may not have to compensate your losses. This waiver is not worth the few dollars you may save.

    Loss Of Income

    This option pays 80% of your actual loss of gross income. The first five work days missed are not covered. An insurance company is required to offer coverages up to $2,500 per month with a $50,000 maximum. If you happen to be self-employed, your insurance will pay for the cost of hiring someone to perform your job duties while you are disabled. As with Medical Expenses, the insurance company must send you a wage loss check within thirty days after it receives proof (wage verification and doctor confirmation of disability) of your income loss. If you are unemployed (and not collecting unemployment), retired, physically unable to work or have a wage continuation plan, you cannot claim loss of income because you do not have an “actual” loss of income.
    Therefore, you should not purchase this coverage. Likewise, if you have an adequate disability plan you may not need this coverage.

    Funeral Benefits

    This option pays for funeral costs regardless of fault if death occurs within two years of the accident. An insurance company is required to offer this coverage up to $2,500. If you have adequate life insurance for you and your family, you probably do not need this additional funeral benefits coverage.

    Accidental Death

    This option pays a death benefit regardless of fault if an accident-related death occurs within two years of the accident. An insurance company is required to offer at least a $25,000 death benefit. If you have adequate life insurance for you and your family, you probably do not need this additional accidental death coverage.

    Collision

    This coverage pays for property damage to your car regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Insurance companies are not required to offer this coverage but most companies do. Most insurance policies cover only property damage up to the “book value” of your car. This coverage usually is expensive. The higher your deductible the lower the premium cost. The
    insurance company is not liable for the deductible when it pays a collision claim.

    For example, if you have $1,000 of damage and a $300 deductible, the insurance company owes you $700. Given how quickly many cars depreciate in value over a few years you may not want to pay for this coverage on an older car. You may not want to get this coverage at all if the book value of your car is low.

    Comprehensive

    This option pays for damage or loss caused from theft, fire or other peril. Insurance companies are not required to offer this coverage but most do.

    Extraordinary Medical Loss

    This option covers medical expenses in excess of $100,000. For example, if you or your family suffered a catastrophic automobile accident, your Medical Expense coverage would be first in line to pay medical bills (for this example, we will use $5,000 in coverage). The next $95,000 in medical is paid by your Blue Cross/Blue Shield (or similar insurance) at work. Now that you have reached the threshold ($100,000), the next $1 million is paid by your Extraordinary Medical Loss coverage. If your medical bills go over $1,100,000, you revert back to your Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage. Although this coverage rarely is used, when you need it, you really need it. People are the victims of catastrophic accidents every day and often through no fault of their own. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and could be critically important if you or a member of your family is involved in a catastrophic accident. This coverage pays medical bills regardless of who was at fault in an accident.

    Contact our Philadelpiha Personal Injury Law Firm Today

    Our firm, Galfand Berger, is made up of Philadelphia personal injury attorneys who are dedicated to the principle of helping injured people get fair and just compensation for their injuries. For over fifty years our highly skilled and knowledgeable legal team of Philadelphia auto accident attorneys have represented injured people throughout Pennsylvania and helped to protect their rights. If you or your friends or relatives have questions regarding an auto accident injury, give us a call at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) to schedule a consultation with a qualified Philadelphia automobile accident lawyer and we will be glad to help you.