Injury Attorney and Former Insurance Adjuster Mike Noone Answers Car Insurance Questions
In dealing with people who have been involved in some type of car or motorcycle accident, we hear it almost daily. Our attorneys will ask what type of insurance the person has, and our client will say, “Oh, I've got full coverage”.
They're usually quite proud when they say it. They sit up a little taller in their chair, and their tone suggests a real sense of accomplishment. It's at this moment that our conversation takes a distinct turn.
Mike Noone, a founding partner at Goldberg Noone Abraham, law firm, was not always a personal injury lawyer. Directly out of college in Pennsylvania, Mike began his career in the insurance industry. After six years in the business, he was a senior claims analyst for a major U.S. insurance company, and has worked on literally thousands of claims involving motor vehicle insurance coverage.
“A lot of people really have a hard time getting their head around this, but, there is no such thing as ‘full coverage', Noone says. “Just because your insurance agent said you were buying full coverage, or in some other way intimated that you were buying every type of coverage you could possibly need, you really shouldn't rely on what they tell you.”
People never anticipate they're going to be involved in a crash, and may be facing serious consequences. In today's economy, it's perfectly understandable that everyone wants to save money however they can, and paying as little as they think they can get away with buying car insurance seems like a good way to do it. You may go your whole life and never have an accident, paying your premiums faithfully every month, never making a claim through your insurance company.
The minute some other driver crashes into you – especially if you or someone else in your car is seriously hurt – is when you'll be counting on your insurance coverage. Sadly, this is the precise moment you'll likely realize you don't really have ‘full coverage'.
Mike Noone goes on to point out what people don't always understand. “Your insurance agent may be the nicest guy or girl in the world, and you're trusting them to sell you the type of coverage you need. But the fact is that insurance companies are huge corporations that need to answer to their shareholders and make a profit. They sell you certain products, and in fact tell you there are certain products they can't sell you, to enhance their bottom line. That can become an absolute nightmare if you're ever in the unfortunate circumstance of being seriously hurt in a bad crash”.
What You Need to Know About Buying Car Insurance
Before you purchase or renew your auto insurance coverage policy, here are some key things you should know:
- The amount of your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage should equal the amount of your Bodily Injury Protection.
- Property Damage limits of $100,000 or less can expose you to greater risk in the event of a crash. Today, many cars on the road may be valued at $100,000 or more. If you're involved in a multi-vehicle accident, your exposure could be severe.
- Purchasing a single limit policy that combines one overall limit for both property damage and bodily injury claims can be a smart idea.
- Always purchase the ‘stacked uninsured motorist' option, no matter how much your agent claims you don't need it. That is the coverage that protects you and your family if you're injured through the fault of someone else.
- Purchasing an ‘umbrella' policy can be your best move. This type of coverage, together with uninsured motorist coverage that matches the liability coverage, does not cost that much additional money, and provides a much greater level of protection if you own a home or other property, own a boat, and in other circumstances.
Noone points out that purchasing the specific types and amounts of coverage can be more difficult than it should be. “In my case, personally, I requested umbrella coverage for myself with matching uninsured motorist coverage. My agent told me that was not something he could sell me, and I ended up having to actually send him the specific Florida statute that supported what I was requesting, and he finally sold me what I was asking for.”
If you are concerned about the affordability of your auto insurance coverage, you may want to consider either lowering or eliminating the ‘medical payments coverage', but only if you also carry group health insurance coverage. You could also consider eliminating the ‘comprehension collision coverage' if the value of your car is around $5,000 or less, and if you feel you can deal with being self-insured for any losses you may experience.
The Bottom Line: ASK Before You Make a Costly Mistake
Again, the personal injury attorneys at Goldberg Noone Abraham fully understand that financial circumstances may dictate that you only pay a certain amount for car insurance. In many cases, people often request policy limits that reflect the ‘bare minimum' to pay as little as possible for their down payment and monthly premiums. While this is completely understandable, we'd like you to consider that this could be a classic example of being penny wise and pound foolish. Any monies you may have saved over the time you are paying your premiums every month can result in considerable losses if you are ever involved in a serious car, motorcycle, pedestrian or other type of crash.
“I'm always happy to speak with anyone personally who needs answers about what type of auto insurance they should buy, before they sign any type of agreement”, Noone says. “It doesn't cost a thing to call me up to get answers to your questions, and one call could end up saving you a lot of money and aggravation in the long run.”
If you have car insurance questions, or any other type of legal issues you'd like to discuss, call 239-461-5508, or just fill out this simple form, and one of our attorneys will contact you immediately.