Most people take their car insurance for granted. You pick one, you pay your premium, you’re covered, and then you forget about it. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, it’s time to reconsider that process. And don’t worry–you’re far from alone. Most people follow this formula, in fact. However, it pays to review your car insurance policy, shop around for better rates, and consider increasing your coverage. We’ll explain why.
Why You Should Consider Increasing Your Car Insurance Coverage in Maryland
Put aside any preconceived notions about how much car insurance you think you need. Many insurance companies advertise the “only pay for what you need” practice (in fact, that’s one of the big insurance company’s jingles), but that is terrible advice. How so? Say you’re involved in a serious car accident in which you’re injured, need extensive hospital care, rehab, medication, etc. Is your current policy enough to cover all of those medical expenses, lost work wages, and other unforeseen expenses that are now a reality? Not.
That is why we always recommend purchasing the maximum insurance coverage you can afford. Sure, it’ll cost a bit more up front, but it will more than pay off if you ever find yourself in this situation (we hope you don’t).
The advice of The Lapidus Law Firm is to carry the highest amount of liability coverage you can fit into your budget, while also purchasing vehicle protection such as comprehensive and collision coverage. And, perhaps most importantly, maximize your Personal Injury Protection (better known as PIP or “no fault”) coverage. It is important to note this is guidance for Maryland PIP ONLY, when the collision occurs in Maryland. Why? Because there are differences in insurance coverages if the collision happens outside of Maryland. For example, if you have a Maryland policy and are injured in D.C., a Maryland court will apply DC law to determine the extent of coverage of the Maryland PIP policy. In such situations, it may well be that acceptance of Maryland PIP would endanger a liability claim, depending upon whether certain exceptions in the D.C.PIP law applies or does not apply. That is why in such a case, it is imperative to consult a lawyer who is familiar with the laws of both jurisdictions in this regard.
Why Shopping Around for Car Insurance Pays Off
Most auto insurance consumers don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their policies or even their premiums–especially if they’re enrolled in an auto-pay program that automatically deducts your monthly (or yearly) premium from your bank account without much thought given. And while that is convenient, it’s also how insurance companies can get away with rate increases without much notice. That’s why it’s a great idea to review your insurance–really take a close look at your rates and coverage–and see if there’s something better out there. Odds are there is–such as more coverage for less money.
Sure, might be a bit of a hassle to switch insurance carriers, but if you’re looking to save money–and improve your coverage–it pays to shop around.
How often? Many experts believe that you should compare prices and coverage every six to 12 months–to make it easy, start comparing quotes every time your policy is scheduled to renew.
Why? Because the auto insurance industry is highly competitive, and an interested insurer may offer you rates better than what you’re paying with your current carrier. Also, there’s a good chance that the factors that affect your premium have changed since you signed up for your current insurance policy. These factors include:
- Credit history
- Driving record
- Vehicle type and age
- Home address
- Vehicle safety features
- Distances traveled
If the status of any of these has changed (which is often the case), your rates will have changed. Starting over with a new insurance company allows you to take advantage of their best rates for new customers and in many instances, increase your coverage.
Why PIP Coverage Is So Important – ESPECIALLY in Maryland
These are important reasons you should go all-in on PIP coverage if you’re a Maryland resident:
- PIP doesn’t cover just you–it covers everyone in your vehicle in the event of an accident. If anyone is hurt and doesn’t have health insurance, PIP will cover their medical bills up to the amount of PIP purchased, but not EXCEEDING that amount.
- If you have a deductible with your health insurance company, having PIP means some of your medical bills will be paid promptly since PIP will cover your medical bills—in most cases– up to the coverage amount you purchased. Further, Maryland PIP coverages do not impose deductibles and co-pays like health insurance does.
- PIP provides coverage regardless of who was at fault in the accident, which is why it’s also known as “no-fault” coverage.
- One of the most important reasons to have PIP is it pays 85% of lost wages, tax free for missed work due to the accident if a doctor authorizes the work absence, or if the injured is confined to a hospital or a bed at home. If your employment offers paid time off and the injured person uses it to prevent any immediate income loss, Maryland law permits that person nonetheless to accept the PIP in the form of a direct tax-free payment.
If you take anything from this article, it’s to call your insurance carrier or go online to discover how much the maximum amount of PIP coverage costs–if you can afford it, sign up for it. If not, see if you can at least afford the next highest amount over what you have now. In any event, purchase more than the minimum of $2,500 because that amount is always insufficient in most injury cases.
Now Is the Time to Review Your Car Insurance!
Reviewing your car insurance on a regular basis is a good habit to develop, as it can not only save you some money up front, but it can also go a long way toward keeping you covered as much as possible in the event of a serious accident. Shop around and see what’s out there–you may find more comprehensive coverage than what you have now at the same or lesser premium cost. And be sure to maximize your coverage wherever possible. You’ll be glad you did if you ever have the misfortune of being involved in a car accident.
This article is just one of many reasons we’re committed to making justice work for you.