If I get a smaller car, I need less insurance, right?
Herndon car accident lawyer Doug Landau of Abrams Landau, Ltd. is asked all the time about car insurance coverage. These questions about coverage are better asked BEFORE a car crash. And the short answer is “no.”
Large truck or small car, the amount of insurance needed to protect is what counts.
It is not the size of the car, but the size of the protection for you and your loved one that you need to purchase. In other words, someone buying a Porsche may need more property damage insurance (known as “PD Coverage”) than if the same person bought a big used minivan. This is because the sports car costs a lot more money than the minivan, and it would be more expensive to repair or replace it.
On the other hand, someone with several children in the minivan at all times, versus the single Porsche driver, may want more insurance protection for his or her loved ones. This may include getting greater insurance for motor vehicle crashes. The minivan owner may also ask about “Medical Payments” coverage (or “MedPay” for short) to provide payment for medical bills regardless of fault. These insurance benefits can also help in the unfortunate case of a one-car accident, falling tree or hit-and-run.
Attorney Landau reminds people all the time that just because the minimum limits called for under Virginia Law are $25,000 per person, $50,000 per crash and $10,000 for property damage, this isn’t always sufficient for most accidents. This “Minimum Limits” liability policy is supposed to protect against claims for unsafe driving by the insured that cause harm to others. However, Virginia law also requires equal amount of protection for crashes with uninsured drivers and underinsured drivers.
Uninsured vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have car insurance, or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver whose liability limits (insurance coverage limits) are too low to cover all of your damage and/or medical expenses. Usually, the defendant’s, or at-fault driver’s, insurance will typically pay for all damages up to his/her policy limits, and then your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the excess amount up to the limits you selected for your plan.
Each layer of additional insurance thereafter cost less and less, because there is a smaller and smaller likelihood of needing it. However, the Abrams Landau law team frequently hear from victims of accidents that without sufficient automobile insurance, they are left to pay for all the harms and losses that have been inflicted on them by a reckless, drunk or dangerous driver.
Attorney Landau has seen people who are the victims of a catastrophic crash who wished that they had purchased additional coverage for their loved ones because they had a $25,000 “Minimum Limits” policy and their medical bills, lost wages and other losses totaled over $100,000.
“Ask questions to your insurance agent; don’t just buy the cheapest policy,” suggest Landau. “Buy what you can afford, but know what happens if the unsafe driver who hits you has inadequate coverage because THEY bought a cheap policy and have no assets with which to satisfy a verdict you might get in court.”
If you or someone you know has been injured due to no fault of your own and you have questions as to what laws apply, please give us a call (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.