Growing up, I was always told that we needed insurance just in case something happens. Then, I got my first car and realized insurance is a requirement, and most people only want the minimum coverage. I understand wanting the minimum coverage because it is cheaper, we think we are invincible, and we are “really good” drivers. The generation that is known for driving down a highway at 80 MPH, one-handed, and putting salsa on their taco is a generation that needs to make sure they have good insurance coverage. I will be honest and tell you that I did not know what kind of insurance I needed until I got hired on at a personal injury law firm. I just trusted that the insurance company would guide me in the right direction when I made my policy. I was completely wrong. To save you some trouble and research I have outline the 3 most important things you need to know about car insurance.
1. No Matter What Car Insurance Policy You Have One Thing Every Millennial Absolutely Needs Is Personal Injury Protection
What is personal injury protection? Personal Injury Protection or PIP is what the insurance company pays you if you get injured. The maximum in the state of Texas is $10,000. Think about this, you get in a car wreck, your car gets totaled, you are in the hospital, and you cannot go back to work. Not only are you trying to figure out how to pay for hospital bills you are also trying to keep a roof over your head, groceries on the table, and deal with the insurance company. It is a lot to handle on your own and can feel very overwhelming.
If you have PIP that can get paid out to you a couple of days after your accident. That allows you the safety net you need while you are recovering and waiting for your car to get fixed. When I learned what having PIP coverage meant I went home and immediately researched it. We had no idea that PIP was even a thing and we want to make sure we are covered just in case. Yes, it might raise your monthly payment, but it is worth it. Your future self will thank you one day.
2. Don't Be: Uninsured or Underinsured. Check Your Policy for Bodily Injury Amounts and Restrictions
If you look on your coverage summary sheet, often called the declarations or "dec" page, there is a section for Bodily Injury Liability and Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury. You will notice that the numbers under these sections are the same. Most Americans carry $30,001 per person and $60,001 per occurrence.
The Bodily Injury Liability is what gets paid if you are responsible for another person’s injury or death in a car wreck, and it pays for your legal defense. I don’t know about you, but if I am the cause of a wreck, and someone gets injured, I am going to want legal defense. I also want to have enough insurance coverage that can cover any costs without it having to come out of my pocket.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury pays for injuries caused by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. If you get hit by someone that does not have insurance, then your insurance kicks in (as long as you have this coverage.) 20% of Americans do not have insurance. That is 1 in 5 people. Think about how many people you pass on your drive to work every day. 20% of those drivers do not have insurance. If one of those drivers is driving with their knees, brushing their teeth (I have personally seen this on a major highway), run you off the road, and cause a car accident how are you going to get your car fixed? How are you going to pay your medical bills? This is why this coverage is so important.
The uninsured and the bodily injury liability need to match. Our law firm recommends having $500,000 in coverage for those. Having the $500,000 allows you to set you and your family up for success and peace of mind.
3. Research Insurance Companies
Time to #Adult. I know adulting is hard and looking for a good insurance company can be stressful. If you are like you me, you saw a funny commercial, then went to the website for a quote, and ended up signing up. I did not look at reviews or do any research. I didn't know just how bad some insurance companies could get. When Russell sat down with me to go over my coverage summary, he saw who I had and his face said it all. He then went on to explain to me that the company I have is one of the harder ones to deal with as a customer in the event of an accident. I had no idea! I went home and started researching reviews. I looked past the ones talking about a great deal and for the ones that talked about how they handled car accidents. If I had done the research before I would have made a wiser decision years ago when I got the policy. Now we are making time to research companies so that we can switch our policy over to a company that will be easier to work with if something happens.
Before you sign up with an insurance company do some research. There are some companies out there that are not quick to pay out to their customers. There are companies that will find any reason to not pay out to you. Really look at the reviews from customers and not just the ones about they give great prices. Look at the reviews that mention accidents, response time, customer service, and how fast they paid out for a claim. These key components will allow you to make the best decision.
In summary, when reviewing your insurance policy:
- Add Personal Injury Protection
- Consider Increasing Your Bodily Injury Amounts
- Research Before You Sign Up
As always, if you have been in an accident recently and need some help you can always download Russell’s book here and you can contact us online or give our office a call at (214) 699-4409. We are here to serve you and help make the process as easy as possible for you.