By: Marcus Hayes
Personal Injury Practice Group Leader, CR Legal Team
The next time you're stuck in traffic, pick out seven cars around you and guess which driver is completely uninsured. As traffic starts moving again, you'll want to stay as far away from that car as possible, and of course, hope you guessed right.
About 14% of drivers nationwide (roughly one in seven) are uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). It's not a gamble you want to take, so make sure you protect yourself financially by having enough auto insurance coverage.
You can't always avoid an auto accident, but for just a few extra dollars per month, you may be able to quadruple your coverage, but when is enough, enough? There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Policies can be highly personalized, but the key areas you want to review are liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Medical payments coverage or MedPay is also a great thing to have in your policy, because it basically gives you instant cash following an accident.
Liability coverage is required in North Carolina to ensure you can cover someone else's injuries and damages if you're at fault. In 2009, the state also started requiring matching levels of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) to ensure that you also protect yourself. MedPay coverage is optional but extremely affordable.
Simply having the North Carolina required minimum of $30,000 bodily injury liability is a big gamble. The most common injuries in auto accidents are neck, head, brain and back injuries, and a broken back with surgery and related expenses could easily top $150,000.
It's not only uninsured or underinsured drivers who pose a risk. No having enough liability coverage if you're at fault could wipe you out financially, and the person you injure can even come after your home, assets and more. What if you total someone's $80,000 Porsche or Mercedes, and you only have the minimum required $25,000 property damage liability coverage?
Where can you save? If you have an older car and no loan, one coverage area you actually may be able to decrease is collision and comprehensive, which can represent 30-40 percent of your total premium cost. But consider using any savings to boost your liability, uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage.
About the author: Marcus Hayes is the Personal Injury Practice Group Leader for the Northern Region at CR Legal Team , LLP.Free Initial Consultation