Under Ohio Law, every driver is required to carry automobile insurance. More and more insurance companies are making it easier to purchase insurance. However, the insurance companies do not always explain the nature of the coverage being purchased. I have had many clients come to my office and tell me that they have "full coverage." However, many people do not know what "full coverage" means.
Here is a brief synopsis of some types of coverage that you can purchase:
1) Liability: if you cause a car accident, your company will pay any injury claims on your behalf from your liability coverage. In Ohio, drivers are required to carry, at minimum, $25,000.00 of liability coverage per person and $50,000.00 of liability coverage per incident. Be sure you check your liability coverage to make sure you purchased enough coverage to protect your assets. The state minimum may not be enough to protect you.
2) Uninsured motorist: unfortunately, there are many people who choose to drive a vehicle without insurance. if you are injured by a driver who did not have liability insurance, you can submit your injury claim to your own insurance company through your uninsured motorist coverage. If your company pays your claim through your uninsured motorist coverage, your company may pursue the uninsured driver for reimbursement.
3) Underinsured motorist: what if your medical bills total $50,000.00, but the driver who hit you only had state minimum coverage? Hopefully, you had underinsured motorist coverage. When the at-fault driver's policy limits are not sufficient to fully compensate you for your injuries, you can submit an underinsured motorist claim to your own company. Just like in an uninsured motorist claim, your company may pursue the underinsured driver for reimbursement.
3) Medical Payments ("medpay"): this coverage is available to help you pay medical bills that you incur as a result of an automobile accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you did not have health insurance at at time of an automobile accident, you can use your medpay coverage to pay those bills. If you had health insurance, you can use your health insurance coverage for your bills and utilize your medpay for out of pocket expenses like co-pays, prescriptions, etc.
4) Uninsured Property Damage: if your vehicle is damaged as a result of an accident caused by an uninsured driver, this coverage can be utilized to pay for the damage to your vehicle.
Therefore, having liability coverage at the state minimum will allow you to drive, but it may not be enough to fully protect you if you are ever in an accident. Discuss with your agent or with your insurance company the various types of coverage available, and purchase as much coverage as you can afford. If you were injured in an accident, know your rights. Contact our firm for a free consultation. Don't be a victim twice.