- May 2, 2016
- Car Accidents
- Personal Injury Law
What Insurance Coverage You’ll Need After an Accident
Many people don’t start asking questions about their car accident insurance coverage until they’ve been in an accident. This is when it’s most important that you have the coverage you need – but if you don’t have good coverage, then it’s too late to change it. Here are some coverage options you’ll probably need if you’ve been in an accident. Some types of coverage are required by North Carolina state law, while others are merely a very good idea. You may want to familiarize yourself with some common legal terminology, to get the most out of this article.
Liability coverage, required in North Carolina, is the basic type of coverage that pays out for damages when you’re at fault for an auto accident. The injuries of the other driver and any passengers, including people in your car, will be covered, as well as property damage to other cars. Liability insurance does not cover your injuries or your vehicle.
The minimum coverage limit in North Carolina is 30/60/25. These limits are:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person per accident
- $60,000 total bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident
These amounts sound like a lot when you’re buying your policy. However, medical bills resulting from an accident can easily exceed the minimum policy limits. So can property damage, especially if your car hits a home or business (or a really expensive vehicle).
Car insurance can get expensive. It’s tempting to get the lowest coverage limits you can in order to keep your premiums low. However, you will be on the hook for any damages in excess of your policy limits. For this reason, you should probably resist bargain shopping for insurance. No one plans on getting in a car accident, but if you do, having enough coverage to pay for the injured parties’ damages decreases the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket. It could also save your assets from being seized if a judgment is entered against you.
North Carolina Requires Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Even though North Carolina requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, some don’t. This is where uninsured motorist coverage, which the state also requires, comes in. It will cover your injuries and property damage resulting from an accident with a driver who does not have car accident insurance coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage is a required part of all North Carolina insurance policies that provide more coverage than state-required minimums. This is important if you are in an accident with an at-fault driver whose policy limits don’t cover your injuries. Your own underinsured motorist coverage will pay for the remainder of your bills in these cases. Underinsured motorist coverage does not cover property damage.
Optional Auto Insurance Coverage
These types of coverage are not required by state law, but if you’re in an accident, you’ll definitely be happy to have them.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay), also called personal injury protection, is extra coverage that pays for medical care you need after your accident. It also covers anyone in your car at the time of the accident. MedPay is an attractive option because it covers treatments your health insurance probably won’t, like ambulance fees or chiropractic.
MedPay covers your care regardless of fault, so even if you were responsible for your accident or if there is a dispute about fault, you can still get the care you need without having to worry about more medical bills. MedPay is generally inexpensive, so it’s a good idea to purchase as much as you can. If you are in an accident, MedPay coverage can minimize your out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Collision coverage pays for repairs to your car if you are in an accident that is your fault. If your car is totalled, your insurer will pay you the actual cash value (ACV) of your car. Even though state law does not require you to have this type of insurance, your auto lender might.
Call an Attorney with Car Accident Insurance Coverage Questions
Even when you have the car accident insurance coverage you need, it’s often difficult to get your bills paid. At-fault insurance companies usually won’t pay your claim until you are finished receiving treatment and you can provide them with a complete statement of your costs. This leaves you to cover your bills in the meantime.
Complex claims are even more difficult for accident victims to deal with. If you have medical bills totaling more than $3,000 or suffered a permanent injury, it may benefit you to speak with an Asheville personal injury lawyer about your case. A skilled personal injury attorney can help guide you through the legal process, and handle communications with an adjuster so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.