As a St Louis car crash attorney, I have many clients that are injured by drivers without insurance. This can have a devastating affect on the victim as without and insured driver the injured victim's recovery options are severely limited. Based on my experiences as a Missouri personal injury lawyer, my strong recommendation is to have the maximum amount of uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage you can get to protect you and your family from drivers without insurance or drivers with only minimum coverage.
When shopping for car insurance, many people are put off by not knowing which of the many varieties of coverage they may actually need and which ones are merely there to line the pockets of insurance companies. The names don't help much either given that ordinary people don't often readily understand the mechanics of a typical uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
A recent car insurance article by Yahoo Finance analyzed some standard insurance policies to come up with a guide for what kinds of coverage the average consumer needs. The Yahoo article gave each variety of coverage a ranking according to color: red meaning the policy is urgent, orange to signify important and yellow meaning least critical. First things first, liability coverage:
• Liability Coverage
• Urgency: Red
Liability coverage exists to pay for bodily injury and property damage that you or others cause while operating your vehicle. Liability coverage will also cover court costs if you're sued as a result of an accident. Given the description, the necessity of the policy is pretty obvious. It's this coverage that is designed to protect your assets and future earning power if you are ever involved in a bad accident. A bit of good news is that it typically doesn't cost much (less than $50 every six months) to double your current liability coverage, so it's probably better to be safe than sorry.
• Collision Coverage
• Rating: Yellow
Collision coverage is what pays to fix your car in the event of an accident. The value of this policy depends almost entirely on money; how old and how much your car is worth, how much a repair might cost and whether you're able to afford the repair on your own without collision coverage.
While collision coverage is important, as your car ages and depreciates, it might not be a bad idea to increase your deductible so that your monthly premiums go down or even consider dropping collision all together. This is an instance where leasing your car will result in a guaranteed purchase as companies will require you to carry collision coverage.
• Medical Payments Coverage
• Rating: Orange
Medical-payments coverage ensures that reasonable medical expenses are paid for those in your vehicle, regardless of who caused the wreck. The importance of this policy depends on your situation, if you don't have insurance or are lacking, move the color up to red and carry the maximum that your company will allow. If you're an avid carpooler then you'll also want increased coverage to ensure that everyone in your car has his or her medical care covered in the event of an accident.
• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
• Rating: Red
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or UM/UIM, exists to pay for injuries that results from an accident caused by a driver who either totally lacks or does not have enough insurance coverage of their own. The number of uninsured drivers in Missouri is significant, estimated at nearly 12% who lack proper coverage. Given the risk of running into one of these drivers (pardon the pun), this kind of coverage is absolutely critical for drivers in the state. Even if you're in an accident with someone who has insurance, a lot of times they might not have enough insurance to cover the injuries you actually sustain.
A good rule of thumb is to match your UM/UIM coverage to the bodily injury limits of your car insurance liability coverage. Even doing this much shouldn't cost a fortune as this coverage is the cheapest of all, sometimes coming in at $1 a month.
This last variety of coverage is especially important given Missouri's confusing uninsured motorist laws which can make pursuing financial compensation from an uninsured or underinsured driver tricky. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney can help you in navigating the state's uninsured motorist laws so you can gain the maximum amount of compensation you're entitled to. If someone you know has been the victim of such an accident and you need assistance, contact a lawyer today or call (314) 863-0500.
See Our Related Blog Posts: