When was the last time you looked over your insurance policy carefully? And what should you be looking for?
When you’re thinking of making a big purchase, you shop carefully. Car insurance should be no different, which is why it’s a good idea to review your policy closely and ask for help if you need it.
Before you buy or renew your car insurance, make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable company, that the coverage is right for your circumstances, and that you aren’t paying for services you don’t need. As car accident lawyers, we’re glad to help you with the ins and outs of your car insurance policies.
Here are a few questions we get frequently:
What type of car insurance am I required to have in Virginia?
Virginia drivers are required to have two types of insurance: liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured driver insurance.
Liability insurance covers losses for the other party in accidents when you are at fault, including the other person’s property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Liability insurance does not cover your own injuries or losses.
Uninsured/underinsured insurance covers injuries and losses suffered by you and your passengers caused by another party who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover your injuries.
In Virginia, the minimum amount of required liability insurance is 30/60/20 – $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 property damage per accident.
The minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured coverage required is 30/60/20 – $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 property damage per accident. You may want to buy more than the minimum amount of liability to protect your assets, especially if you are a homeowner.
Also, be aware that your car lease or loan company may require you to carry gap insurance that covers the difference between the amount owed on your vehicle and its market value at the time of the accident. Gap insurance is not required by Virginia law, and the cost may not be worth the benefit in many cases.
Does “full coverage” really mean I am fully covered if I’m in a wreck?
No. We often have new clients tell us that they have “full coverage” on their auto insurance policies. Unfortunately, their insurance agent told them that they had “full coverage” when they bought their auto insurance policy. But this is the agent’s way of telling the client that they have the “full” or minimum policy amounts required by Virginia law.
Sadly, “full coverage” of the Virginia minimum insurance of a $30,000/$60,000 policy is often far too low to protect our clients if they are at fault or to provide sufficient uninsured or underinsured coverage if they are hurt in a car accident.
For example, if you are seriously hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, and the other party has a minimum insurance policy of $30,000, you may need to rely on your underinsured insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your losses. If you have medical bills of $50,000 and lost wages of $10,000, the defendant’s policy of $30,000 is not enough to pay you fully for your damages as a result of the car crash.
That’s why it’s so important for you to purchase as much uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as possible. Having a $100,000, $300,000, or even a $500,000 UIM policy will give you the peace of mind that your coverage will be enough to compensate you for your losses, even if the defendant driver who hurt you has a minimum coverage ($30,000) policy.
Talk with your insurance agent today to see what the premium prices are for upgrading your UIM coverage. You will likely be surprised at how little it takes to substantially increase your coverage amounts.
Should I add Medical Payments coverage to my auto insurance policy?
Yes! A little-known coverage that can pay big dividends in a car accident is medical payments coverage. If you purchase medical payments coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, your insurance carrier will reimburse you for the amount you or your health insurance pays for your medical care after a car accident.
Even though you may have excellent health insurance, auto insurance medical payments coverage or “Medpay” affords you an additional payment for your health care costs. Medpay is often a very low-cost premium amount and comes in increments of $1,000, $5,000, and even as high as $25,000. As an added benefit, your Medpay coverage is multiplied by the number of cars on your auto insurance policy. A Medpay benefit of $5,000 with three cars on the policy results in a total Medpay of $15,000.
Call your insurance agent today to add Medpay coverage to your policy. You won’t regret it.
How can I make sure I’m only paying for the insurance I need?
When it’s time to renew your policy, check to make sure all the information is accurate, and note any changes in your circumstances, such as whether you have moved, the length of your commute, or the purchase of a new vehicle. Double-check that all of your personal information is correct, too.
The declaration page, which can be found near the beginning of your insurance policy, summarizes important information, including maximum liability,
effective dates of coverage, premium amount, and when payments are due.
When buying or renewing car insurance, it’s important to make sure that you only buy the services you need. Be wary of features that may be costly and unnecessary, such as roadside assistance or rental car protection.
Other red flags to look out for are carriers that don’t include contact information or fail to provide a physical address.
Also, make sure your potential insurance carrier is licensed. Check out the company’s client reviews and see if they have a significant online presence. Watch out for companies that ask for too much personal information up-front or offer limited payment methods, such as only accepting cash or wire transfers.
Who can I call to learn more about car insurance coverage?
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we’ve seen what can happen when drivers don’t have the right insurance. That’s why we’re always happy to look at your current automobile policy with you and advise you on the best type of coverage for your situation–free of charge.
One of our mottos is “big city experience, small town care.” John and I are former U.S. Marines, and we consider it our calling to get justice for our friends and neighbors in Virginia who’ve been harmed by others.
So, don’t hesitate to call us if you or a loved one has been injured in a Virginia car accident. When you put your trust in GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, you don’t pay anything unless we win your case. We call it our Zero Fee Guarantee.
Give us a call at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 to schedule a free consultation today.
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we understand what you’re going through because we’ve been there ourselves, and we will serve you with empathy and excellence.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.