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How Much Car Insurance Should I Have?

Driving is a necessary part of our lives that comes with unique risks. Car accidents are too common, especially coming out of a pandemic with more people on the road every year. Studies show that for every 1,000 miles you drive, your chances of being in a car accident are 1/366, with people averaging 3-4 car accidents in their lifetime. 19,515 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2023.

The risk is real and safe driving is one way to mitigate that risk. We can drive safely ourselves by giving other cars extra room, staying within the speed limit, being aware of weather conditions, and planning our routes, but we can’t control other people, and sometimes accidents just happen. The other way to protect yourself is by having the right insurance coverage.

The right car insurance is a crucial layer of financial and personal protection. All state’s insurance requirements are different, and it’s best to consult with an experienced lawyer to find out what yours are. For example, this Everett truck accident lawyer is an expert in insurance and offers free consultations. This article focuses on the core components of car insurance that protect you and others: uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), liability coverage, and property damage coverage, highlighting their importance in safeguarding yourself and others on the road.

UM/UIM Coverage: Your Safety Net

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is essential for when you're hit by someone who is insured or who lacks adequate insurance. It may cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more, ensuring you're not left paying out of pocket for another's mistake. With UM/UIM, you're protected even if the other driver leaves the scene or doesn’t have insurance.

There are more than 20 states in the US where uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory. In others, insurance companies are required to offer UM policies, but purchasing them is not mandatory. If your state allows you to waive your UM/UIM coverage, don’t. There are approximately 28 million uninsured drivers, a figure that is equivalent to 12.5% of the country’s drivers.

There are generally two types of UM/UIM coverage – for bodily injury and for property damage. You should make sure you have both.

PIP Coverage: Immediate Help, Regardless of Fault

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) offers immediate coverage for medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, no matter who was at fault. It's quick support when you need it most, helping cover costs from hospital bills to recovery expenses without the wait. Not all states offer this type of coverage, while in some it is mandatory.

12 U.S. states require PIP coverage - Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah. In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to have $5,000 in medical benefits. PIP coverage is optional but can be purchased in seven other states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington – and the District of Columbia.

How does PIP work? Let’s use Washington State for example. In Washington, insurance companies are required to offer PIP. Make sure you opt in. Then if you’re hurt in an accident, your medical providers send the bill to your insurance company, and your bills are paid up to the coverage amount you’ve purchased. If Washingtonians have any questions about any insurance matters, contacting this Everett car accident lawyer is a good start.

Liability Coverage: Your Responsibility to Others

Liability coverage is key to taking responsibility on the road. If you're at fault in an accident, it covers the other party's medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. It's about being accountable for your actions and ensuring others aren't financially harmed by your mistake. Be a good citizen and make sure you have enough coverage.

It’s also important to protect your assets. If you don’t have enough coverage and you seriously hurt somebody, it’s possible they could sue you for your personal assets. Sleep well at night knowing you are well covered.

Property Damage: Protecting Your Assets

Property damage coverage is crucial for repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other damaged property. It prevents large out-of-pocket expenses and helps you recover quickly, keeping you on the move without the burden of repair costs. As stated above, you may be in an accident with an uninsured driver. Make sure you have your own property damage coverage.

Conclusion: The Right Insurance for a Safer Journey

Choosing the right car insurance means more than fulfilling a legal requirement. It's about protecting yourself and others from the financial impact of accidents. With UM/UIM, PIP, liability, and property damage coverage, you’re prepared for the unexpected. This comprehensive approach ensures peace of mind for you and security for those around you, making it an essential part of responsible driving.

So how much should you have? That depends on your circumstances. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to talk it through.