By: Karen P. Nadeau
Attention Massachusetts residents!
It is so important to review your insurance coverage to protect you and your family members in the event of an accident.
When considering insurance coverage for your motor vehicles and/or home, one of the primary considerations is the cost and how to save money on insurance. When trying to get the cheapest insurance and best value, important coverage is sometimes deleted or lost. Many of our clients do not even know that they lack important coverage nor do they have enough insurance to cover their losses, until they are involved in an accident and we ask for their coverage selection pages. Take a look at your insurance coverage now and make sure you are adequately protected in the event of a loss.
With automobile insurance, clients need Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage in the event of a car accident. This is not a place to save money or opt out. PIP benefits provide no fault coverage in the amount of $8,000.00 total for medical bills and lost wages. This means regardless of who is at fault for the accident, PIP provides $8,000 in coverage per person for the driver and passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses and lost wages.
Even with health insurance, our clients still are responsible for costly copayments and uncovered medical expenses. Co-pays add up and may run thousands of dollars for clients seriously injured. These copays and non-reimbursed medical expenses place a heavy burden on clients and their families. The PIP coverage provides up to $8,000.00 in coverage to reimburse these copayments, patient responsibility charges and medical costs. We help our clients secure reimbursement when they have the PIP coverage. We are seeing far too many clients without this coverage for them to seek reimbursement, and the savings on insurance premium is very little when you consider the protection it provides.
Also, we have clients who are disabled from work due to injuries from a car accident. They often have inadequate sick time benefits or paid time off. The PIP will pay 75 percent of lost wages up to the $8,000.00 limit. Recently we had a client who was unable to work due to a disabling back injury caused by an auto accident, and we secured her the $8,000.00 in PIP benefits that helped ease her and her family’s financial burden while she was out of work. If she opted out of this coverage, she would have nothing.
Similarly, we see a lack of uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits. When you are in an accident caused by the negligent operation of the other vehicle, it is easy to assume the other driver’s insurance will cover your claim for compensation because the other driver was at fault. However, too often the negligent driver has minimal insurance. When this happens, we look to our client’s own motor vehicle insurance to determine underinsured benefits since the negligent driver is underinsured. Many of our clients are shocked to learn that they have no underinsurance coverage. This often means inadequate compensation for the client’s injuries. Again, the cost savings in minimizing this underinsurance coverage is small.
A reoccurring example of this underinsured/ uninsured coverage providing additional compensation to our clients is when the negligent driver has only $20,000.00 in bodily injury coverage and our clients have cases worth more than $20,000.00. Imagine suffering an injury such as a broken arm or leg and having surgery with hardware and scars due to another driver running a red light and finding out he only has $20,000.00 in coverage. The compensation is grossly inadequate to make you whole. If you have underinsured coverage in excess of $20,000.00 on your own policy, you would be in a position to pursue additional compensation through your own policy. For example, if you had $100,000.00 in underinsured motorist coverage, the law would allow you to seek an additional $80,000.00 from your own insurer in addition to the $20,000.00 from the negligent operator’s insurance. You would be in a position to be compensated in the total amount of $100,000.00 with your own coverage versus only $20,000.00 if you do not have the coverage. Again, our clients typically don’t realize this until it is too late.
These are just two areas of your insurance policy that we are addressing as examples. Both the PIP coverage and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage are issues that keep resurfacing in our representation of clients. Some of our clients are fortunate and have the coverage to allow us to pursue the compensation they need and deserve. Other clients lack the coverage and had no idea what they gave up and how little they actually saved on the insurance premium.
Lesson Learned- Take a few minutes to review your insurance coverage to have peace of mind that you have adequate coverage for you and your family.
We would be happy to discuss any questions or concerns regarding this and lead you in the right direction to address your insurance coverage.
At Nadeau Harkavy LLC, we help victims and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from tragic accidents. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a motor vehicle accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.