After a car accident, one of the biggest concerns is how medical bills, lost wages, injuries, and damaged property will be paid for. Understanding what is and what is not protected under your insurance policy is crucial to make sure both you and your family have the coverage they need before an accident occurs. Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP is a personal injury law firm that has more than 35 years of experience representing clients throughout Indiana, and we have seen practically every type of insurance policy available. Here is what you need to know before you renew your insurance policy.
Unfortunately, minimum coverage in Indiana is $25,000. Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP routinely represents clients with medical bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, ambulance fees typically are close to $10,000 and lifeline fees are close to $100,000. With intensive care units charging as much is $20,000 per day, you can easily see that the minimum coverage in the state of Indiana is not enough to protect you, your family, your home, and other investments.
Although minimum coverage in Indiana is only $25,000, most people who have a home or other investments worth protecting choose to carry what is known as 100/300 policies. This means the most that any 1 victim can receive under the insurance policy is $100,000; while the most that the insurance company will be liable for if there are multiple victims is $300,000. Even though the 100/300 policies are much better than the state minimum coverage of $25,000, you can easily see that if there are multiple victims in a serious accident that $300,000 will not be enough to provide coverage for all the victims and their injuries.
There are several ways that you can make sure that you, your family, and your investments are all protected in the event that another driver is uninsured or underinsured. There are also some steps that you should take to prevent unnecessary medical expenses being taken away from any settlement or verdict that your lawyer would be able to obtain on your behalf in the way of medical liens.
The best way to make sure you are financially protected in an accident is to carry what is known as uninsured/underinsured insurance. This is often referred to as UIM insurance. By carrying uninsured/underinsured insurance you can make sure that you are fully protected in the event that the other driver is not carrying insurance or is carrying only state minimum coverage. In representing our clients for more than 35 years, we have found that uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage is probably the most beneficial thing that our clients can do to make sure that they are protected on the road.
Another way to make sure that you are fully protected on the road is to increase your amount of “med pay” in your policy. The med pay provision of an insurance policy is money that is set aside specifically to pay for nothing other than medical expenses. This is important because this money goes directly to paying for medical fees and not for any lost wages or other damages that your attorney will be able to argue on your behalf. Many assume, incorrectly, that because they have health care insurance there is no need to increase the amount of med pay – nothing could be further from the truth. You do not pay a deductible on med pay, and it goes directly towards your medical bills. Also, most people carry what is known as an ERISA health insurance plans. ERISA plans are notoriously problematic because they give your attorney little leverage when trying to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Never forget you have the ability to negotiate a new insurance policy every single time you renew. There are plenty of insurance companies vying for your business, make sure you negotiate the most coverage possible. Now that you understand some unique ways to increase your coverage, make sure that you renew your policy with an increased underinsured/uninsured provision as well as an increased med pay provision. The good news is that the cost to you is generally very low, and it can be negotiated with different insurance companies. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.