Car insurance is one of those products that most individuals have and too few individuals really understand. In fact, you may only think about your car insurance when you receive notification that it is time to pay your premium or your insurer sends a new proof of insurance card. However, not having car accident insurance – or not having enough insurance – can end up costing you dearly in the event of a car crash.
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What are the Basic Provisions of Auto Insurance Policies?
Alabama’s Mandatory Liability Insurance (MLI) law requires motorists to carry the following minimum insurance:
- $25,000 in the event of a death or bodily injury to one person;
- $50,000 for the death or bodily injury of two or more people;
- $25,000 for damaged or destroyed property.
Many Huntsville drivers have auto insurance policies that exceed the minimum requirements. The Insurance Information Institute and the Alabama Department of Insurance list the following types of coverage that you may have as part of your insurance contract:
- Bodily injury: Covers injuries you cause to someone else;
- Personal injury protection: Covers injuries you and your passengers sustain;
- Property damage: Covers damage or destruction of property you cause;
- Collision: Covers damage to your car that occurs as a result of colliding with another car;
- Comprehensive: Covers damage or theft caused by something other than a collision with another car;
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist: Covers injuries and losses you sustain as a result of a collision with an underinsured, uninsured, or hit-and-run driver.
If you are unsure about the limits of your insurance coverage, contact your insurance carrier or agent.
What is Meant by the Term “Coverage”?
When you submit a car accident claim to your insurer, your insurance company will check to verify that you have coverage. This means that, before paying your claim (or the claim of a person you injured in a crash) the insurance company will check the details of your policy and determine if the company agreed to pay a claim resulting from the type of accident that caused your loss. If the incident and loss are covered, your insurance company is contractually obligated to pay up to the claim limit agreed to in the insurance contract.
What if My Insurance Coverage is Not Enough for My Expenses?
If a person only has a $25,000 bodily injury policy and he or she causes injuries to you that exceed this amount, you may be able to recover the difference if your own auto insurance coverage includes uninsured and underinsured motorists. You may be entitled to bring a legal claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company if you have losses that exceed the amount paid by the insurance. If your insurance company has paid any amount of compensation to you, your insurance company may try to seek compensation from this person for the amounts they paid to you.
The Huntsville auto accident attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are dedicated to assisting injured motorists recover the compensation they need from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. Contact us right away after a car accident so we can go to work for you. You can reach our office by phone or by contacting us through our website.
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Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.