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Understanding Car Insurance (Part 2)

Posted onFebruary 6, 2013

We discussed Oklahoma liability coverage couple of weeks ago. In this segment, I’ll cover Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage and Medical Payments coverage.

These are tough economic times, and everyone is looking to cut back on expenses. Lots of people look to their insurance policies to see if they can trim some savings by reducing what they believe are unnecessary coverage. Be very careful how you cut costs on your automobile insurance. Trying to save money on your auto insurance by dropping certain types of coverage could end up hurting you if you are involved in an accident.

Uninsured motorist coverage (also known as underinsured motorist or “UM” coverage) and medical payments (“med-pay”) coverage are additional coverages and are not required by Oklahoma law. However, these inexpensive coverages could end up saving you a lot of money and protecting you and your loved ones if you are involved in an accident. Oklahoma law only requires that drivers carry liability coverage, which protects others from your driving mistakes. Uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage protects you and your passengers in the event of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.

In general, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage applies if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have auto insurance. Also, it may apply in “hit and run” accidents under certain circumstances. Underinsured motorist coverage applies if the other driver has auto insurance, but not enough to cover your damages. These additional coverages protect you by paying you for damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It is important to remember that one in four vehicles on the road in Oklahoma is uninsured!

Med-pay coverage applies if you are injured in connection with the use of a motor vehicle and seek medical treatment. This coverage applies to injuries resulting from accidents, but also any injury resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.  This type of coverage can be especially important if you  don’t have health insurance, or you have a very high deductible under your health insurance policy.

These coverages protect you and your passengers. Compared to the alternative, (possibly being without any insurance protection if you are hit by an uninsured driver), they are inexpensive, but they do cost extra. Talk to your insurance agent about your current policy coverage and see whether you have them in place. You may be surprised to learn that your “full coverage” policy does not include these types of coverage. If you currently don’t have this coverage, I encourage you to get it. Cut back on something else every month in order to get it.

I strongly recommend that this is one of the last areas of your budget that you look to if you are trying to save money, because the results can be disastrous. We are approached by potential clients frequently who have been involved in an accident with a driver that wasn’t insured, but often these potential clients don’t have UM coverage, and they are often left without recourse or any method of recovering for their injuries.

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