$29,700. That’s the average amount insurance pays when a car accident involves an injured party. At the Parrish Law Firm, we see car accident victims come through our doors on a daily basis. All too often, we hear about accidents involving individuals with the bare minimum insurance or sometimes no insurance at all. We’re here to share some information as well as our findings so you can make the best decision when it comes to purchasing an insurance plan for your vehicle.
Car insurance is broken down into two main categories: 1. Liability and 2. Everything else. Liability coverage only covers damage you may cause to another individual. For this reason, only getting liability insurance is often the cheapest option. The “everything else” option covers damage that happens to your property as well. The state of Virginia requires all Virginia registered motor vehicle owners to have motor vehicle liability insurance or enough money to pay for any losses that may result from an automobile accident. (Virginia Code § 46.2-706; source: Virginia DMV)
So how much vehicle insurance should you get?
We believe you should go as high as you can afford, especially when it comes to liability insurance. If you injure another party or cause damage to their property, you will be held liable for paying out those damages. If you are unable to pay, the court may garnish your wages directly from your paycheck and may even seize your assets to ensure the other party is paid what they are owed.
Fun Fact: New Hampshire is the only state in the country that does not require insurance. That said, it does require you meet specific financial responsibility requirements.
When it comes to insurance, we have found the best coverage for most drivers is 100/300/100. This breaks down to $100,000/person, $300,000 in bodily injury liability and finally, $100,000 in property damage liability. This should help protect the wages and assets of most, but not all, drivers.
Other types of insurance
There are a few other considerations when purchasing insurance. PIP coverage, or personal injury protection coverage, helps to cover expenses such as funeral costs, medical bills, lost wages, etc. regardless of who is at fault. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) protects you in the event that you are hit by someone without insurance. Note that the state of Virginia requires UIM. Also, according to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 13% of drivers in the U.S. do not have insurance. Comprehensive coverage will protect you from instances involving your vehicle that are not due to an accident. Some examples of what comprehensive coverage covers are theft, break-ins, damage due to weather, damage from animals, etc. Collision coverage is designed to help you repair or replace your vehicle in the event of an accident. This differs from liability coverage, which covers damage to the other party’s vehicle or property. Finally, GAP insurance covers the difference between what your vehicle is currently worth and the amount you owe on the vehicle. There are many other types of insurance, but these are the popular additional insurance coverage types.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you can call the Parrish Law Firm for a free legal consultation at (571) 229 – 1800.