Posts Tagged ‘medical bills’
Do terms like liability, comprehensive coverage, and underinsured seem like a foreign language to you? If so, you are not alone.
Julie Turner, wife of Ross, loves to tell the story of when Ross first reviewed her auto insurance policy back in 1989. Both were single at the time, and Julie’s insurance bill was due. Ross looked at the policy and couldn’t believe his eyes.
Julie had the minimum limits and very little coverage – on her brand new 1988 Honda Accord! When he asked her why, she said she had called an 800 number and asked for the best price. She had no idea that her policy would not have paid enough if she had been in an accident. Suffice it to say, Ross eventually became her insurance agent and her husband… and in that order!
It’s important to understand your automobile insurance coverage, even though it can seem complicated. Take a moment to review these key auto insurance terms:
Liability Insurance – Reimburses others for injury, damages or losses caused by your driving or your car. There are two types:
*Bodily Injury Liability – In a car crash where you’re at fault, bodily injury liability will provide compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and related expenses resulting from injury or death. We can help you determine the right amount of coverage, based on whether you own a home and other substantial assets that could be at risk in a lawsuit.
*Property Damage Liability – This coverage will pay to repair or replace things you damage in an accident other than your own car. Again, it’s best to consider your personal situation.
Collision Insurance – Covers the replacement or repair of your car, regardless of who is at fault in the accident, even if you are hit while parked or hit by an unknown car or object. If you have a car loan, you are required to have collision protection. On the other hand, if your older car’s value rises and falls based on the gas in its tank, you may consider dropping collision coverage.
Comprehensive Insurance – Protects against damage to your car that does not involve a collision. For example, fire, theft, hail, flood, windstorm, flying objects or animals. It’s likely required if you’re paying a car loan, but optional if you own an older car that’s not worth much.
Medical Payments Coverage – Pays for physicians, hospital bills, continuing care, funeral costs and compensation for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. If you have adequate health insurance, you may not need this optional coverage, but it can pay expenses your health insurance may not cover.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage – Covers you, and members of your household, for losses in an accident with a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has no car insurance or not enough car insurance.
And remember, we love questions! We are happy to walk through and explain your policy at any time.
In the midst of the festive and hectic holiday atmosphere, it is easy to forget the serious responsibility involved with hosting a party at your home or business. In many states, individuals and employers hosting holiday parties can be held liable in cases where a guest or third party is injured in an accident related to alcohol consumption at your event. Hosts have been held responsible for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work, and even wrongful death.
Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents such as The Turner Agency recommend that those planning to host holiday parties this year review their homeowners, renter’s or comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policy and ensure they have adequate liability coverage if sued and found liable for the actions of a guest who drank at their home or business. While all holiday partygoers and hosts alike should be responsible and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be eliminated entirely. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense.
Liability Coverage Tips:
• If hosting a holiday party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to provide them protection if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank at their home.
• Employers need to make sure that their comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy provides them coverage for third-party liquor liability policy before hosting that holiday office party.
• Charging employees for alcoholic beverages in the home or office may not always be the best solution for business parties. It is important for businesses to remember that once they charge a fee for alcohol, they have technically entered the alcohol sales business, even if only for one night. That carries with it requirements for a liquor license and an array of special liability protection needs. It by no means lets these employers off the hook.”
• Purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy—that can provide $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit offered by a standard homeowners or renters policy—may be a prudent move for the frequent party host. This type of coverage can cost as little as $125 a year.
Party Host Safety Tips:
• Limit guest list to those you know.
• Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
• Schedule activities or entertainment not involving alcohol. If the party centers around drinking, it is likely that guests will drink more.
• Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home.
• Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end.
• Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
• Review your insurance policy with us or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent before the event to ensure proper liability coverage.
• Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discretely monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
• Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
Even before they start school, many children become involved in extra-curricular activities. Adults charged with getting groups of kids from home or school to the ball field and back home again are usually more concerned with maintaining their sanity than thinking about their auto coverage. However, hauling kids around could have a serious affect on your coverage.
In an auto accident, drivers can be legally liable for their passengers’ injuries. Most personal auto policies will extend coverage for injuries to passengers when driving your own car. But what if you rent or borrow a large van to take the soccer team out of town for a weekend tourney? While most auto policies will cover your actions in a car that isn’t yours, many contain restrictions on the size and type of vehicle they will cover.
School employees, such as teachers and coaches, who use their school’s vehicles to haul students and players from place to place have another reason to be concerned. In addition to possible size restrictions, there’s a concern with regular usage; specifically, your personal auto insurance policy may not pay for your liability from an accident in a vehicle that is not yours but is provided for your regular use. In addition to uncertainty with whether or not your policy will even respond, another serious concern is adequate limits of insurance. A serious injury to a single passenger could mean thousands of dollars in medical bills and other costs stemming from the injury, and those dollars increase with the more passengers that are involved. There are published accounts of accidents involving adults driving in a car pool in which damages greatly exceeded $1 million.
Yet, many adults continue to purchase auto liability limits based on the minimum required by state law. In South Caroina the minimum limits are 25/50/25—not likely sufficient when you consider the severity of certain injuries and the number of passengers involved. Remember also that this limit applies for all injuries caused by an accident for which you are liable, including passengers of other cars.
Adults driving kids to athletic and other events should consider maintaining the highest liability limits possible, as well as a personal umbrella policy (click here for more on personal umbrella policies.) The umbrella can provide much higher limits of liability, some well over $1 million.
Today’s drivers are faced with a multitude of distractions that pose a risk for accidents. Understanding your personal auto insurance could help bring at least a little peace of mind. Contact us if you have any questions at 288-9513.
The Turner Agency Inc.