Protect Yourself Before an Accident Happens
Whether it’s a loss of income, life-altering injuries or accruing insurmountable medical bills, the aftermath of a serious car accident – or motorcycle accident – can result in a lifelong burden. While financial assistance won’t lessen the pain of injury, it can alleviate much of the stress of an accident.
According to the Law Offices of Aiken & Aiken, there are easy, and very inexpensive, precautions you can take that will ensure your financial wellbeing after an accident. “It’s not something people often think about, and it certainly isn’t something people enjoy spending money on, but it’s insurance,” claims Attorney Paul Aiken.
As personal injury lawyers on Cape Cod for nearly 40 years, Paul and his brother Steve, who are partners in the Hyannis law firm, they have worked with countless clients who have experienced hardships following an accident. We recently spoke with them about the importance of people being more aware of exactly what their auto insurance covers. “People don’t really know the specifics of their [auto insurance] policy. They just want to be sure they can get it, but they don’t want to pay a lot for it either,” said Steve. “The first thing we do when someone comes in after an accident is review their insurance policy.” In most cases, this is the first time someone is actually reading their policy and many times, it’s too late.
The bulk of the annual premium you pay for your car insurance is in the form of collision insurance; the money that will repair or replace your car. Sadly, a far smaller portion of the total premium goes toward protecting people, including both you and the passengers in your (or any) car. It’s this portion where Paul and Steve Aiken find people are grossly underinsured and where they counsel their clients to make adjustments. Paul claims, “The tragic irony is that purchasing additional coverage to adequately insure people is so inexpensive.”
There are four types of mandatory coverage required on an auto insurance policy in Massachusetts:
- Bodily injury to others;
- Personal injury protection (PIP), also referred to as no-fault benefits;
- Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto, and;
- Damage to someone else’s property.
There are three additional types of optional coverage (that protect people) and what Aiken & Aiken advise you should absolutely have without a doubt:
- Optional bodily injury to others;
- Medical payments and;
- Bodily injury caused by an underinsured auto
You can’t control what another driver has for insurance, you can only control what you have. If another party is at fault and underinsured the only way you can protect yourself and the ones you love is to have the right coverage. “There’s no such thing as too much insurance,” claims Paul.
Simple & Inexpensive Precautions to Avoid Lawsuits & Lessen Financial Burdens
Before an accident happens, check your policy. Schedule time to speak with a local insurance agent (in person or by phone as opposed to some big company online) and go through each line of your policy to compare options and prices. A good agent should educate you completely.
Begin by getting the highest amount of liability coverage (Bodily injury to others) that you can afford because this dictates how much coverage you can obtain for Bodily injury caused by an underinsured auto. If you have a million dollars in liability coverage then you can (and should) have a million dollars in underinsured auto coverage. Don’t ever cut costs on underinsured auto coverage, it’s the most important coverage you can have!
Next, get medical payments coverage regardless of any health insurance plan you may have. If your health insurance covers your medical costs in the event of an accident, and you end up in a legal dispute where you’re awarded a settlement, your health insurer has the right to be reimbursed for any costs paid on your behalf. Unless you have medical payments coverage on your auto insurance policy this reimbursement would come out of your legal settlement.
Remember, these three optional coverages are dirt cheap! In fact, they are generally about a couple bucks per week. So for less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, you can get a year’s worth of insurance that will ensure you and your passengers, in any car, can get the care needed while protecting valuable assets, such as the equity in a home. As Paul so succinctly said of the wisdom of adding these inexpensive options to an insurance policy, “It’s so cheap that it’s a crime not to have it.”
Please contact us today for a Free Consultation. We will review your policy with you BEFORE it’s too late. Call Aiken & Aiken today at 508-778-9203.