Ensuring Adequate Insurance Coverage

At Sussman & Simcox, we have been on a mission to educate as many Marylanders as possible about obtaining adequate auto insurance before a traffic collision happens. With medical and vehicle costs skyrocketing, inadequate insurance coverage can cause serious financial hardship for a household. And with the option of simply hitting the “renew” button during an online insurance purchase, many drivers are unwittingly buying coverage that no longer provides adequate protection.  

At several new client appointments, when the topic of auto insurance was reached, we had clients proudly advise, “Don’t worry, I have full coverage.” Unfortunately, “full coverage” doesn’t mean what most people think. “Full coverage” is an outdated insurance industry term that loosely refers to an auto policy with coverage for liability, collision, and comprehensive benefits. While those coverage types are beneficial, the more important consideration is the AMOUNT of coverage in key areas.  

Uninsured Motorist Coverage and PIPauto insurance

Consider this common scenario - You are injured by an uninsured motorist and have to make an injury claim against your own auto policy for uninsured motorist benefits. If you are carrying the state minimum of $30,000 in coverage, and you have significant injuries and lost wages, that $30,000 limit will be inadequate to fairly compensate you. You could be left with medical debt, lost income, and perhaps long-term symptoms or physical limitations.  The injury victims who thought they had bought “full coverage” are now facing years of hardship. 

On your next renewal, first look at your liability coverages/uninsured motorist benefits. Do not put your household at risk by purchasing the bottom tier of coverage of just $30,000. Not well publicized by Maryland insurers, the incremental cost to bump that coverage up to $50,000, $100,000 or even $300,000 is much less than you might think.  

If you did not purchase personal injury protection, do so. PIP provides early medical cost reimbursement even if the collision is your fault. The basic tier of coverage yields $2,500 in benefits for you and each family member residing with you, and there are no deductibles or co-pays to contend with. You can buy higher limits of that coverage as well.  

The Importance of Collision Coverage 

Keep collision coverage on your policy, even on an old car, if it is transportation you regularly rely on. Without collision coverage, if the other insurance company refuses to accept liability for a collision and repair your car, you will have no recourse other than to pay thousands out of your own pocket to repair your car. If it’s your only vehicle, this can cause significant hardship. 

We get it. To most Marylanders, insurance is boring, and no one wants to take the time to read dry insurance coverage documents.  But spending a few minutes at each renewal can help clarify what you are buying and whether it provides the “full coverage” you truly need. 

Howard Simcox
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Gaithersburg Personal Injury Attorney
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