Understanding Auto Insurance

 Picture this: It’s Friday, and you’re headed home from work.  Suddenly, traffic screeches to a halt.  You brake hard, and…BOOM! 

The car behind you slams into you so hard that your airbags deploy as you crash into the car in front of you.

The next morning, your lower back is aching, with sharp pain running down your left leg.  Over the next week, your back and leg only get worse. Your doctor wants to order an MRI, but you haven’t met your health insurance deductible.  You don’t know exactly what your car insurance policy covers.  What are your options?

As a personal injury attorney, Amber Gilormo is all too familiar with this situation.

According to Amber,  most people have questions.  How will they pay for their medical treatment?  What if they need surgery?  Can they be compensated if they have to take time off? While most people don’t think about their insurance policy until it’s time to use it, it’s often the single most important factor in determining your options for treatment and recovery.

In the scenario above, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy would be primary.  While Georgia requires a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for every vehicle on the road, you might be out of luck if your medical expenses exceed their policy limits.  In that sense, getting into a car accident is kind of like gambling - you don’t get to pick who hits you or what type of insurance they have. Some of the worst cases we see are clients who are hit by uninsured drivers and therefore can’t get compensation for their devastating injuries.

“That’s why I always encourage people to go beyond the minimum level of coverage with an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.  These policies go into effect if the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance, or their insurance isn’t enough to cover all of your medical expenses,” she says.  This is where things get tricky, though: some companies allow you to stack coverage for multiple vehicles on separate policies in your household, while others only offer coverage that is reduced by the other driver’s insurance limits. You want to make sure that you have the right amount of coverage to meet your expenses in the short run, and that can vary depending on your income and lifestyle.

Another good thing to add to your policy is medical payment benefits.  This is essentially health insurance that covers your accident-related medical expenses even if you were at fault.

The absolute best thing you can do to protect yourself in case of an accident is to ensure you have the right insurance for yourself.  “Every carrier has a different way of underwriting policies, and there is an exception to every rule.  That’s why consulting with an insurance expert is so important.  If you have questions about your policies and coverage, feel free to call my office – I’m happy to review your policy at no charge,” promises Amber.

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