There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with an insurance company. The situation is even more frustrating if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault.
Insurance companies often treat car accident victims as if they are a nuisance or a number. They seem to delay every decision in hopes that you will you will simply give up and not proceed. This is true even when dealing with your own insurance company following an accident.
What does “Full Coverage” mean
One question clients have asked over the years concerns “full coverage.” In other words, a client will say “I had full coverage on my car at the time of the accident, so why am I not being paid?” Occasionally, a misunderstanding can arise over what “full coverage” actually means and what the policy covers.
We have had clients tell us they had full coverage when actually they only had the minimum coverage required by law. However, minimum coverage often varies from state to state. In other words, different states have different requirements when it comes to minimum insurance requirements. The only constant is that minimum coverage will include both liability coverage and property damage coverage.
Liability is not Full Coverage
Liability coverage is typically included in all insurance policies, and it protects you from damage you cause to others or to property as a result of an accident for which you are at fault. Typically, the liability coverage in an auto insurance policy will contain three limits: the maximum payment for bodily injury per person, the maximum payable for bodily injury per accident and the maximum payable for property damage.
In Alabama the minimum requirement for automobile insurance is as follows: you must have liability insurance to help pay for any damages or injuries you may cause to others in a car accident. Your liability coverage must include the following minimums: $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person and $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident and $25,000.00 for property damage.
What this really means is that all Alabama drivers must purchase and maintain a policy of insurance in case you are at fault in an accident. The most this minimum policy will pay is $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 per accident no matter how many people are injured. This does not include the $25,000.00 minimum required for property damage (vehicle repairs).
Morris Bart and his team of attorneys represent clients all over Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee. These states are all similar to Alabama and require that each owner/operator of a vehicle have an insurance policy with at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury. A minimum of $25,000.00 is also required for property damage in Mississippi and Arkansas. However, Tennessee only requires a minimum of $15,000.00 for property damage.
In other words, in these states, if you are injured in an automobile accident that is not your fault, the law requires that the adverse driver maintain liability coverage to help you pay for damage to your property (this is called property damage liability) or for costs associated with your injuries (bodily injury liability).
Morris Bart also has offices all over the state of Louisiana. Minimum liability insurance limits are different in Louisiana where the minimum requirement is $15,000 limit per person/ $30,000 limit per accident and $25,000.00 for property damage.
We also represent many clients throughout the state of Texas. Texas requires that each owner/operator of a vehicle maintain at least $30,000.00 in limits per person and $60,000.00 per accident. The minimum for property damage liability in Texas is $25,000.00.
Liability coverage typically does not cover damage to your own car or costs associated with your own injuries from an accident if you are at fault.
Full Coverage does not cover everything
When people use the term “full coverage,” they are usually referring to liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. As stated earlier, the term “full coverage” is often misleading. This is because the insurance does not cover everything in full. In other words, there is no such thing as “full coverage.” To state it another way, “full coverage” isn’t a coverage in itself. It’s a phrase generally used to designate a number of coverages that provide a good amount of protection: specifically liability, comprehensive, and collision coverages.
Liability insurance is what we just discussed. It protects you from damage you cause to others or to property as a result of an accident for which you are at fault (or protects you if you are injured in an accident that is not your fault).
Collision coverage typically pays for damage to your vehicle if it is involved in an accident/collision with another vehicle or if it hits an object such as something in the road or even a tree.
Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover vandalism, theft, and other damages that do not result from an accident. It typically also includes damage resulting from storms and natural disasters, such as a hurricane or a tornado.
Other types of coverage
There are many drivers on the road that ignore the minimum requirements and have no insurance at all. If you are injured by a driver with no insurance and are looking for insurance to pay for the damages, uninsured motorist coverage is the avenue though you can receive compensation.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) helps pay for bodily injury and property damage caused by drivers with no insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage typically extends to anyone you allow to drive your car, and anyone riding in a car you are driving but do not own. In other words, if you do not have this coverage, and are in an accident with an uninsured driver that does not have the money to compensate you, you will have to pay all of your expenses out of pocket. Twenty states, plus the District of Columbia, require that drivers maintain some form of UM coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), on the other hand, comes into play if you are injured by a motorist whose liability limits are too low to pay for all of your damages or medical expenses. Only five states (Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Vermont) make it a legal requirement to maintain UIM coverage.
Medical payments coverage will cover your medical costs (up to the amount you select) after a car accident, even if you were at fault. Medical payment coverage can also cover you or a family member who is hit by a car while riding a bike or while walking in a crosswalk. It can even cover medical bills if you were injured in someone else’s car.
Rental reimbursement is insurance coverage that will cover your rental costs if you are in an accident that causes your vehicle to need repairs.
Emergency road service will pay for costs if your vehicle breaks down on the road and you need towing or labor.
Customized parts and equipment coverage will help with the cost of damages to your car if you have enhanced your vehicle with expensive equipment or custom parts.
Finally, gap insurance comes into pay if your car is totaled in an accident. This coverage helps pay the balance between the amount you owe on your loan or lease and your vehicle’s estimated actual cash value.
What all of this really means is that although a driver may think he or she has “full coverage”, there are a number of instances in which a policy may not cover the full amount of damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. The best way to ensure that you receive everything you deserve after being injured in an accident is to make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side. Morris Bart attorneys understand the different types of coverages and will work tirelessly to ensure that you do as well so that you can focus on healing physically and emotionally. Our attorneys strive to aggressively maximize your recovery. Morris Bart attorneys can help you recover compensation from the types of coverages we have discussed, plus lost wages and much more. The important thing to remember is that the longer you wait to call Morris Bart, the harder it can be for you to be fairly compensated. The best thing to do is speak to an actual attorney right away and know there is never any cost to you for a consultation. Call and speak to a car accident lawyer now at 800-537-8185.