Auto insurance can get expensive when you start adding up the coverage options and factoring in your previous driving history. As a result, you might choose to skimp on your policy – shrink coverage here, reduce a covered event there. What you end up with is coverage that doesn’t do much but line the pockets of your insurance company. When a car accident occurs, a bare bones or “minimum” policy doesn’t save you any money. In fact, it may end up costing you thousands of dollars extra. Here are some options your car insurance needs right now.
1. More Personal Injury Protection
In New Jersey, personal injury protection or PIP provides coverage for the injuries you sustain in a car accident as well as passengers in your vehicle up to a predetermined maximum. This coverage also pays for damages in an accident that you cause, according to the New Jersey Auto Insurance Buyer’s Guide. The standard policy in the state provides $250,000 in coverage for medical expenses, though many drivers try to save money on their premium and go with the smallest amount possible – $15,000. The bare minimum amount may not cover the cost of the trip to the emergency room after a serious accident. Increasing your PIP coverage adds a handful of dollars to your policy, and it could very well save you hundreds of thousands in the event of a serious wreck.
2. Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
A basic auto insurance policy lacks any collision or comprehensive coverage. These policy provisions pay for damage done to your vehicle when an accident is your fault or when damage occurs from a weather-related event or theft. Hit a parked car? Collision coverage can pay for the repairs. Tree fell on your windshield? Comprehensive softens the blow. According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, comprehensive coverage also pays for damage to vehicle if you collide with an animal. That means you can get your broken radiator fixed after you ran into that deer.
3. Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage Options
Insurance coverage varies by driver, and there’s no guarantee the motorist who rear ends your vehicle is going to have enough insurance to pay for your damages. Alternatively, if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, your only hope of finding money to cover your losses could rest with the police finding the driver responsible. Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage allows your own insurance company to stand in the place of the other driver’s policy, and prop up your claim. In cases where the driver completely lacks coverage, this insurance type may be your only real means of obtaining compensation for your losses.
4. Lower Deductibles for Your Policy
Higher deductibles lead to lower premiums; it’s a popular strategy. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay on a single accident before your insurance company picks up the rest of the tab. You may be able to purchase a policy with more coverage options with higher deductibles, but it could easily come back to haunt you when a crash occurs. If you can’t afford a $1,000 deductible on your collision coverage, it doesn’t make much sense to have the limit set that high. The extra $20 a month a lower deductible might cost you is a far better alternative than being stuck with a wrecked car and no way to put for the repair cost.
5. Verbal vs. Zero Threshold – Your Right to Sue
Companies charge policyholders more for “zero threshold” coverage because it opens the doors on your ability to file a personal injury claim and recover compensation. With the zero threshold option, you no longer have to meet certain standards for your injuries to file a claim to obtain money damages for lost wages or unpaid medical expenses stemming from the collision. The basic auto policy in New Jersey has the “verbal threshold” or limitation on lawsuit selected as the default option. That means you have to opt out of this coverage and choose the zero threshold. Saving $200 a year on car insurance isn’t worth leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table if you’re in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
There’s nothing worse than being deserving of compensation, but unable to obtain what you deserve because of a simple selection on an insurance form. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact our car accident attorneys for a full explanation of the ways we can obtain compensation for on your behalf.