What You Need to Know About Your Automobile Insurance Today

Car accidents happen all the time. You could be the best driver on the road but there is always the chance that a negligent driver could wreck into you. If you own a vehicle, it is imperative that you take preventative measures to make sure that you have a good insurance policy for your vehicle.

Right about now, you may be wondering what a good insurance policy looks like. I am going to point out a few items that you should look out for in your current automobile insurance policy or to look out for if you are shopping for new automobile insurance. These items are: 1) Personal Injury Protection Benefit Coverage; 2) Liability Limits; and 3) Uninsured Motorist Limits.

1. Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) Benefits

Personal Injury Protection (hereinafter referred to as “PIP”) Benefits are the portion of an auto insurance policy that will cover items, such as (but not limited to), medical expenses and lost wages, whether you are at fault for the wreck or not. If you are injured as a result of an automobile accident, Kansas law requires that medical providers bill to your auto insurance PIP benefits before billing your health insurance, or you.

It is extremely important that you know the amount of PIP benefit coverage that you have through your automobile insurance policy.  There is a lot to know about PIP benefits, but I am going to focus on the key facts that you need to understand. Kansas law requires that any individual who is a titled owner of a vehicle, have insurance on the vehicle. The minimum limits that Kansas law requires for PIP medical benefits are $4,500.00, and for PIP lost wages $900.00 per month for one year.

If you have ever been to the hospital, you know that medical bills are expensive and that $4,500.00 could be charged very quickly by a medical provider. Also, it is likely that $900.00 per month to account for you being unable to work due to your injuries, will not cover all of your monthly living expenses.

When purchasing insurance, explore your options. Ask to increase your PIP benefit limits. Usually, the cost is quite small in comparison to the minimum limits that are set forth by Kansas law.  Most insurance companies have a variety of options, for example: $25,000.00 towards medical expenses, instead of the minimum limit of $4,500.00. Given that medical providers bill so much for medical services, $25,000.00 seems a lot more reasonable to make sure you are protected.

2. Liability Limits

Next, it is imperative that you know what the liability limits are of your automobile insurance policy. If you are the at-fault driver in a wreck and someone was hurt as a result, you risk the injured individual filing a lawsuit against you to recover damages for their loss as a result of the wreck. In Kansas, if you are a titled owner of a vehicle, you are required to have at the very minimum, liability limits of “$25,000.00/$50,000.00” (If you are looking at your automobile insurance declaration page, you may see “25/50”). Further, for example, if you were in a car accident ultimately causing injury to a family of four, the maximum that one of the four injured persons could receive is $25,000.00, but between all four of the family members, $50,000.00 is all that would be available. It is possible that if you do not have adequate liability limits, that the injured person, or persons, could sue you personally.  

Again, explore your options when purchasing your automobile insurance. Insurance companies offer a variety of liability limits, such as, but not limited to: $50,000.00/$100,000.00, $100,000.00/$300,000.00, and $250,000.00/$500,000.00. Many insurance companies also offer umbrella policies, which are policies that provide additional security if you were ever being sued for injuries that you caused to others in an accident.  

3. Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Limits

Lastly, but perhaps of most importance, you should know the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that you have. Uninsured motorist coverage is necessary if you are injured due to the fault of another driver who is driving without insurance. If you are hurt due to the fault of another driver who failed to insure their vehicle, then you can look to your automobile uninsured motorist policy. You should always be vigilant in making sure that you have adequate uninsured motorist limits.

Underinsured motorist coverage applies if you were in a car wreck due to the fault of another driver whose insurance limits are too low to cover your damages (medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering). Using a simple example, say your medical bills are $100,000.00. If the at-fault driver only has minimum liability limits of $25,000.00/$50,000.00, then you would likely only be able to recover $25,000.00 from the at-fault driver. However, hopefully, you would have adequate underinsured motorist limits which would allow you to seek relief from your own automobile insurance policy for the remaining $75,000.00 worth of your medical bills that need payment.

If you are wondering whether your automobile insurance coverage is adequate for your individual needs, contact Gilchrist & Fields Law. Attorneys Kimberlyn Gilchrist and Jasmine Fields are knowledgeable in personal injury law and what it takes to make sure you are protecting yourself and your family.

The information throughout this webpage is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Legal advice must always be customized to the individual case. Further, the information on this webpage does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Gilchrist & Fields Law Firm.