I work with hundreds and hundreds of accident clients each and every year throughout the State of Maryland. As a result, I have hundreds if not thousands of conversations with clients and potential clients about their auto insurance coverage. In fact, I find education on insurance to be so important that I regularly talk to my firm’s non-auto accident clients about their auto insurance policies!
One of the common things I hear on a regular basis is “I have full coverage, my insurance is good.”
This can be right, in some situations, but the statement isn’t really that simple.
In Maryland, full coverage really just means that you have liability, which is required on all policies, and collision coverage. For some companies, they’ll even sell you a limited version of PIP (which is secretly a waiver for you and your immediate family) and call it full coverage.
More importantly to note, that having liability coverage does not mean that you have enough liability coverage. Imagine you’re going to your favorite coffee shop and ordering a full cup of coffee. Unless you’re leaving room for cream and sugar, you’re likely going to get a full cup, but are you getting an 8oz cup, a 16 oz cup, or something even larger? Is your caffeine fix going to last you until the end of the day, or are you going to sputter out around midday because you got the smaller cup?
“Full coverage” insurance kinda works the same way. In Maryland, the State minimum liability coverage is $30,000 per person, $60,000 total per accident. This means that if you cause an accident with injuries that are more expensive than $30,000 to one person, you could get sued and be personally liable for the excess amount. It also means that your uninsured motorist coverage will not be more than $30,000. Uninsured motorist coverage is what kicks in when the at-fault driver of an accident in which you suffer injuries either has no insurance, or a small amount of insurance, you can get extra. If you’re hurt worse than a $30,000 limit on an uninsured motorist claim, the most we can recover for you is probably $30,000.
Take a look at how big the cup is, not just whether or not it’s full, the next time you go shopping for auto insurance.
I suggest a minimum of $100,000/$300,000 for most individuals who do not own their own home. If you are a home owner, you shouldn’t have insurance coverage any less than $250,000/$500,000. Also, make sure you keep your UM/UIM coverage matching your liability limits.
Never EVER waive PIP insurance. Inquire about how much PIP insurance you can buy, or add in med-pay with companies who offer it. You’ll be surprised how inexpensive it is to add or increase these helpful parts to your insurance policy.
As always, I’m happy to take a look at your auto insurance policy and give you my suggestions and tips from an attorney’s perspective. There is never ever a charge for this. Call my office whenever at 410-885-6200.