Buying auto insurance in Pennsylvania- watch out!

How can the average vehicle owner make intelligent decisions when buying insurance in Pennsylvania? The words in an insurance policy often don’t make much sense. The insurance agents are competing with other agents and trying to show how their company has lower premiums. But are you comparing “apples to apples” or are you just paying less because you are getting less? “Bodily Injury Liability” coverage is the maximum amount to be paid by your company on your behalf if you are at fault in causing an accident and someone is hurt. Most people will want at least $100,000/ $300,000 in this coverage. $100,000 would be the most paid to any one injured person and $300,000 would be the most paid to everyone who was hurt in the accident.  If you are worried about being sued for more than that amount you could consider an excess or umbrella policy that would add to that coverage. Just ask your agent about how to get this greater protection. The real confusing terms are “full tort” and “limited tort”. Tort is a legal term that means the right to sue.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense but your tort selection may limit you and your family’s right to sue other at fault drivers. If you have “limited tort” coverage, you and your family members can only sue for pain and suffering if the other driver who is at fault causes “serious” injury. It is very confusing as to which injuries are serious. It would be up to a jury to decide. What if you break your thigh bone but you get surgery and six months later you are released by your doctor to full activities. You can be sure that the insurance adjuster and the insurance lawyer will claim that you have no right to recover for pain and suffering because it wasn’t “serious” Bottom line, never select “limited tort”. Let me write that again, never select “limited tort”.

The other types of coverage which I want to address today are “underinsured motorists coverage” and “uninsured motorists coverage “. These are important coverages. You can reject these coverages by signing a “rejection form”. Don’t!  Instead make sure that you select “stacked “uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and make sure that they are in the same amount as your bodily injury liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family if the careless driver whose vehicle causes injury has failed to obtain insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage protects you and your family if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay you and your family member’s claims. If you own two automobiles that are covered by your policy/policies and if you have bodily injury coverage of $100,000 then you and your family would get $200,000 in available coverage from which to pay for your injuries caused by another negligent driver if you have “stacked “coverage and if you have not selected lower underinsured or uninsured motorists coverage. If the other driver has some coverage but not enough, you can get his coverage as well as your own coverage if your injuries justify such an award.

Remember to be careful before giving up coverage in order to get a lower premium. A lower premium means less insurance that will work to your detriment if you are in an accident. We at Liever, Hyman & Potter represent accident victims who are hurt or whose family members have died in car, motorcycle and truck accidents. We have been around since 1959. We understand insurance policies and know where to look to get you the largest recovery that is justified based on the harm which was caused. Although we are located in Reading, Berks County, PA we have helped thousands of clients throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania and remain available to answer your questions on these and other important issues. Article by John R. Badal, President of the firm.

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