Hello, I’m David Monteleone, from Fisk & Monteleone. Today, I want to talk about the most common mistake that I have seen over the last 32 years of practicing law, which is I see people not having enough or the right kind of auto insurance. I’m going to take a moment to tell you the types of auto insurance that you should have.
Auto Insurance Is Required By Law In Illinois
First of all, in Illinois, it’s the law that you have to have automobile insurance. However, you would be shocked to know how many people are out there driving, causing all sorts of mayhem, that don’t have insurance. Or they tell the police officer that they did have insurance, they may even produce an insurance card, but come to find out it’s expired for two years. They don’t get a ticket because they were able to produce an insurance card, and a lot of times the investigating officer misses the fact that the insurance isn’t current.
I would say, just from my experience, it seems like 30 to 40% of the people out there don’t have insurance. When they do have insurance, it’s the state minimum. In Illinois, the state minimum for insurance is $25,000. You may think $25,000 is a lot of money. It’s not. If you are injured, if you need an ambulance ride to the hospital, if you have a hospital stay in the emergency room, CAT scans, MRI, radiographs, etc… that $25,000 could be eaten up very quickly.
I’m going to tell you not only that you should have auto insurance, as is the law, but you should have it in a much higher amount than the bare minimum. You need it for your protection. $25,000 is not enough but let’s say you bought $100,000 of coverage. You might think that’s going to be four times as expensive as buying $25,000. It’s not. It’s a little bit more to get a whole lot more insurance. The odds are you’re never going to need it, but if you do need it, it’s there for your protection.
Make Sure You Have This Insurance Coverage
I want you to look at your insurance. Make sure you have these types; bodily injury. Okay, that’s going to protect you in case you seriously injure someone else because of a mistake you made driving, that plan protects the other guy but what I’m about to tell you protects you and you alone; the uninsured motorist and the underinsured motorist coverage.
If you look at your policy, this might be abbreviated as UM or UIM. UM in insurance jargon means uninsured motorist, and UIM means underinsured motorist. What’s an uninsured motorist? Someone who hurts you damages your property, causes you injury, and so on, and they don’t have any insurance. If you have uninsured motorist coverage that’s going to protect you from the other guy who has no insurance.
Let’s say the other guy does have insurance, say he has the state minimum of $25,000 but your medical bills are $100,000. Yes, he’s insured, but he’s underinsured, he didn’t have enough insurance. He is an underinsured motorist. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, that is the UIM that we talked about, you can access that money in place of that other guy’s inadequate amount of insurance. So the UM and the UIM coverage is what’s going to protect you from the other guy.
Another type of insurance you should have is what’s called medical payments coverage. You can also find that on your policy, and most people have anywhere from $1000, $5000, or $10,000. Why do you need medical payment coverage? Well, to pay your medical bills. You might say, wait, I have medical insurance, I don’t need medical payments coverage. Yes, you do. Medical payments coverage will pay any copay or deductible that the insurance company doesn’t cover.
So if you have health insurance, and they get a bill for, let’s say $10,000, they may pay $8000. The remaining $2000 is going to say the patient portion. That’s your share. If you have medical payment coverage on your auto policy, you can simply claim your auto carrier and they will pay that for you. This medical payment coverage is extremely cheap. It’s wonderful to have in place. You can use it for anything that’s accident-related. So for example, even if you go to Walgreens and buy a heating pad because your back is sore, or you go to buy an elbow brace because your elbow is sore, you can claim those medical expenses, and the insurance companies will pay for them.
We talked about bodily injury coverage, that’s in case you’re negligent. We talked about underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. This is in case the other guy is negligent and either doesn’t have insurance or has it but in very low amounts. We talked about medical payment coverage. I want you to get car rental coverage on your policy and don’t get the bare-bones $25 a day. For $25 a day, you’re going to get put in a junky little Ford Pinto that you’re not going to want. For a few dollars more, bump it up to $40-$50 a day and get something comparable to what you were driving. If you’re driving a Cadillac Escalade, you’re not going to be happy when they put you in a Ford Pinto. Bump up your car rental for a few extra dollars, and get more coverage.
The last type of insurance I’m going to recommend that you have is umbrella coverage. This is coverage on top of your auto coverage that is tied to your auto coverage. For about $500 a year, you can probably get a million dollars in additional coverage. You may ask why you need umbrella coverage. Let’s say that someone causes a horrible crash and you are catastrophically injured. Or someone in your family is catastrophically injured, or god forbid dead. If you have adequate insurance and you have an umbrella, you can access both of those to pay for your catastrophic injuries or your family member’s injuries. For not a lot of money, you can get an umbrella policy, but you have to tell your agent that you want this tied to your auto policy so that it kicks into place after your auto policy is exhausted. That’s all I have for today. Thank you, if you have any questions, give us a call. We’re happy to help.
Contact Our Rockford Car Accident Attorney
Our Rockford car accident attorneys have years of experience negotiating personal injury settlements for people injured by the actions of another. Contact our Rockford personal injury law firm at (815) 962-0044 to discuss your potential case.