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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 6,750,000 accidents in the United States in 2019. This translates to roughly 18,500 accidents every day. With statistics like these, there is a high likelihood that American drivers will be involved in an accident at some point in their lives, which is one of the reasons having full auto insurance coverage is important.
Without car insurance, any damage caused by you or someone driving your car becomes your responsibility to pay. This includes damage to property, vehicles and medical bills of anyone injured.
The National Safety Council estimated that the average cost of a non-injury-causing car accident is $51,000. Add an injury to the mix and that cost skyrockets to between $155,000 and $336,000. An accident involving a fatality could cost millions of dollars.
Considering these figures, the benefits of car insurance are clear. However, not all car insurances will cover the same things. Some types of car insurance are mandated by law, while others are left up to car owners to determine based on what kind of monthly premium and deductible they feel they can afford.
Here is what every car owner should make sure their vehicle insurance covers.
By law, every driver in the U.S. should carry liability insurance. This covers claims resulting from damage and injuries the driver causes to other people or property. It will also cover legal costs if the insured driver is found liable in a court of law.
"Intentional damage and contractual liabilities are generally not covered in liability insurance policies," said Investopedia. In addition, "unlike other types of insurance, liability insurance policies pay third parties—not policyholders."
This means that while you'll be covered for damage you cause to others, your own injuries and vehicle damage will not be.
According to Rocky Mountain Insurance, Utah requires drivers to carry a minimum $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 per accident for property damage.
In the event you're involved in an accident with another vehicle, you'll want to have collision coverage you can rely on.
"Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible," explained the Insurance Information Institute. "If you're not at fault, your insurance may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver's insurance company and, if they are successful, you'll also be reimbursed for the deductible."
If you finance your auto purchase, lenders will require you to purchase collision insurance.
Another insurance type not required by law, but which may be required by a lender, is comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive will cover most types of damage not caused by collisions with other cars, including flooding, fire, hail, riots, hitting an animal, earthquakes, vandalism and falling objects (including meteors).
After paying a deductible, your comprehensive coverage will pay you up to the total value of your car, which is why older vehicles get less benefit from being covered.
Personal Injury Protection coverage
Because Utah is a no-fault state, it is mandatory for drivers to carry something known as Personal Injury Protection coverage.
"PIP coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages and lost household services," explained The Advocates injury attorneys. "It only covers $3,000 total, unless you have purchased a higher amount of PIP coverage. Your PIP coverage will cover those bills up to $3,000, no matter who was at fault in your accident."
Your PIP will cover the people in your car while the other driver's PIP will cover the occupants of his or her car. A pedestrian hit by a car will be covered by the driver's PIP. Once the bill amount rises above $3,000, your health insurance should kick in.
In the event your medical bills exceed $3,000 and the other driver was at fault, you can make a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance for the excess amount, including reimbursement for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. When you win your claim, the other driver's company will pay all of the bills, including the initial $3,000 your PIP paid up front.
The exception to Utah's PIP laws is that motorcycles and semi-trailers are not required to have PIP coverage.
If you've recently been involved in a car accident, call (385) 350-8460 or visit utahadvocates.com for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Advocates can help you navigate the complicated process of getting fair compensation from your insurance company following a car accident, and they can help you get what you deserve.