Auto insurance- is minimum coverage what you really want?
In the event you cause an accident, your auto insurance liability limits cover injuries to the other driver, the other driver’s passengers, and your passengers, as well as property damage. Pennsylvania requires that you purchase a minimum amount of car insurance. But is this really enough coverage for you? If you are not well protected, it could potentially be a financial disaster.
I mean, I get it. We all want to pay as little as possible for our car insurance. But is saving money worth losing valuable coverage? If I get into an accident, can I afford to lose everything I have worked so hard for? Let’s look at some facts.
Pennsylvania state minimum limits for auto insurance is 15/30/5. What does this mean? It means the insurer will provide bodily injury liability coverage up to $15,000 per person injured in any one accident, and $30,000 for all persons injured in any one accident, and up to $5,000 for property damage in any one accident. When you think about what it would cost to fix damage to a vehicle, especially a newer car, is $5,000 enough? And what if you slide on ice and the other vehicle you hit has more than one passenger and they are all seriously injured? $30,000 can be used up faster than you can say the words “state minimum”.
So, the next question you may ask is: What happens if I have an accident and the damages exceed my policy limits? Well, to be frank, YOU are responsible. The insurance company will only pay up to the amount of your policy limits. So if you have only $5,000 in property damage and you cause $10,000 in damages to another vehicle, you are responsible for paying the other $5,000. And with a lot of newer and high-tech vehicles on the road, the cost to repair vehicles keeps going up.
By purchasing minimum limits you are putting your assets at risk. In light of costs for car repairs, hospitalization and follow-up medical care (which could continue for years, especially in cases where someone suffers serious injury), and lost earnings for those whom you injure, purchasing minimum limits is often inadequate to cover the costs of all damages sustained in an accident.
What can you do to protect yourself and your assets? At the John Yurconic Agency, we recommend carrying at least 100/300/100 in liability, and purchasing a personal umbrella policy. Some carriers will write higher limits such as 250/500/100 or even 500/500/500. It varies based on each individual insurance company. A personal umbrella policy will kick in once the liability limits on your auto policy have been exhausted. Depending on the insurance company, a $1 million umbrella policy can be as little as $150 a year. (*Please note- this is not an acurate quote, just an average rate based on a 2 driver, 2 vehicle household)
The bottom line – if you’re legally responsible for damages which exceed your coverage limits, you’ll be responsible for the difference. The time to discover you don’t have adequate insurance/coverage is BEFORE you’re involved in an accident, not AFTER. Whether you have minimum limits or not, if you’re interested in protecting your and your family’s present well-being and financial future, and securing a little more peace of mind, as your insurance agent, we are here to help answer any questions and review your available options.