Everyone who owns a vehicle has a standard automobile liability policy which is required in New York. While some people know the ins and outs of exactly what is included in their policy, most have not looked at them as carefully as they should. As a personal injury lawyer, I often ask my clients (and even other lawyers) what their coverages are, and the feedback I constantly get is that they have no idea. Because of this, I am always talking to friends, family, and even neighbors about what type of insurance they have and what’s included in their policy as it’s so critical to make sure you are properly covered before an accident happens.
The worst feeling in the world is to get into a bad accident and discover once you call your insurance company that you did not have the coverage you needed to protect yourself. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, keep reading to learn what you should include in your policy and make sure you review yours (and update where needed) as soon as you can.
The bare minimum liability coverage (coverage for your mistakes)
The first part of a policy is the liability coverage, or the part that covers you for any mistakes that you make (or any mistakes that someone who is driving your car makes). If you are at fault in an accident and someone brings a lawsuit against you, your insurance company will provide lawyers free of charge to defend you as part of your premium. Even though you don’t need to pay out of pocket to obtain a lawyer who will defend you in a lawsuit, it is important that you keep in mind that your insurance company will only cover the damages up to the amount of your liability limits.
While the minimum liability limit you need to have sounds like a lot at $25,000, the person who brought the lawsuit against you will certainly be seeking more than that. If you really hurt someone, you need to make sure you have the right type of coverage, which means that $25,000 will not be nearly enough. The next step up is also not sufficient at $50,000 and the next step above that is $100,000, which should be the bare minimum liability, although the ideal liability coverage starts around $250,000.
Anything above $250,000 will give you more peace of mind that your coverage will be there to protect you and cover their injuries if you truly hurt someone in an accident. Another way to gain peace of mind is through a homeowner’s umbrella policy. This would be in addition to your automobile liability policy and give you enough coverage to feel confident you are covered if you need to be.
Other things to note with your liability coverage
Part of your liability policy that you will want to make sure to have if you are married is the spousal liability coverage. This coverage protects your spouse if they are a passenger in the car while you are driving and are injured during an accident where you were at fault. While yes, your spouse’s medical bills will be covered by the No-Fault or the Personal Injury Protection part of the policy, if you don’t have this coverage and the scenario happens where they are a passenger in your vehicle and get hurt due to an accident caused by you, your spouse would be out of luck when it comes to any type of settlement for the pain and suffering caused by the accident. Since this addition to your policy is inexpensive, there’s no reason to skip it when finalizing the details of your car insurance policy.
To learn more about the other parts of your policy including the property damage coverage and more, click here. If you or someone you know was in a serious car accident on Long Island and needs an attorney, call Mark at 631-495-9435 for an honest conversation.