“But I Have ‘Full Coverage’” – Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy

All too often, our clients come to us operating under the mistaken belief that they have “full coverage.”  Ohio law requires that owners and operators of automobiles insure themselves.  To be legal, a driver must have an insurance policy with minimum liability coverage for bodily injury up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, along with property damage coverage up to $25,000 per accident 

That liability coverage protects the car owner and family members who live with the owner by paying when he or she causes injuries and property damage to others.  Others may be covered depending on the policy language.   

Isn’t That Enough Coverage? 

In many cases, basic liability coverage is simply not enough to handle your needs after an accident. 

Unfortunately, many people sign up for car insurance through a provider’s online application process, so a conversation about other potential coverages never occurs.  Even when talking to an insurance agent, the conversation can end with liability coverage. 

Ohio drivers should consider purchasing additional coverages such as medical payments, uninsured and underinsured motorists, comprehensive and collision, and umbrella coverages.   

Medical payments coverage pays medical bills for you and your passengers.   

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays when you are injured by a driver who has little or no insurance coverage.   

Comprehensive and collision coverages pay for repairs to your vehicle when it hits another vehicle, crashes into something, or sustains damage from incidents other than collisions.   

Umbrella coverage is a relatively affordable way by which you can increase your liability protection beyond your automobile and homeowner’s insurance policy.   

Making Sure You’re Properly Covered 

Too many of our clients carry little or no medical payments coverage.  You should consult with an insurance agent about the amount of coverage that is right for you.  Medical payments coverage is not health insurance.  After an accident, you or an injured passenger can make a claim for benefits under the medical payments coverage, which would be paid to you directly to offset out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles.   

Medical payments coverage can also help to defray the cost of specialty treatment and testing that may be out of your health insurer’s network.  In short, medical payments coverage can be used in conjunction with your health insurance to ensure that you or an injured passenger are able to seek the medical treatment that you require. 

Ohio law only recently changed a few years ago to increase the minimum requirement for automobile liability insurance from $12,500 per person and $25,000 per accident to the current requirement.  And even that new standard is arguably too low to cover the damages caused in many accidents.  The Ohio Department of Insurance estimates that as many as 15% of Ohio drivers drive uninsured.  That percentage may be higher in some parts of the state. 

Too many Ohioans have been involved in accidents where insurance is not available or is simply not enough to cover injuries that result.  You should ask your licensed insurance agent to provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with your policy.  In addition to medical bills, this coverage can pay other damages related to your injuries such as lost wages and pain and suffering, for instance. 

Umbrella polices can provide additional liability and uninsured-underinsured coverage.  The rate for that coverage is often a fraction of the price of liability coverage.  You should work with a licensed insurance agent to determine whether an umbrella policy benefits you.   

The Richards Firm does not represent any insurance companies and does not sell insurance.  That being said, we are always willing to review our clients’ insurance policies and make recommendations about coverages that may be available.   

As an experienced vehicle accident attorney in Hamilton, Ohio, Rhys Richards has an extensive understanding of what insurance providers typically do and don’t cover. Please make sure you are in fact fully covered.   

Call The Richards Firm today at 513-868-2731. 

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