How much do you really know about your auto policies? Have you studied them? Do you know what’s covered and what’s not?
For instance, you may not know that your automobile insurance policy extends beyond the vehicle and also covers you as a pedestrian. It’s a little known provision in automobile insurance laws.
If you are out walking your dog on the sidewalk one evening, or mowing your front yard, and an uninsured motorist leaves the road and injures you, your uninsured motorist insurance will have you covered. That may seem like a far-fetched scenario, but it happens.
What is uninsured motorist insurance?
First, consider this: for every 20 drivers you meet on the road every day, three of them do not have automobile insurance. That’s 15% of all drivers in Arkansas who are uninsured.
This also comes at a time when the Insurance Research Council reports that claims costs from auto injuries are increasing at an alarming rate. From 2005 to 2013, the average cost of a bodily injury liability claim rose 32.1%.
If you are injured in a vehicle accident that is not your fault, and the other driver is not insured, what do you do?
Arkansas law requires every automobile owner to have liability coverage, which pays for any claims when you are at fault in an accident. The minimum liability is $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 to cover property damage. Consult with your insurance agent regarding the amount of coverage you need.
Recognizing the unfortunate fact that not all people are law-abiding citizens, Arkansas law also requires that you be offered the opportunity to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. Developed in the 1950’s, this protection covers you and your automobile if the other driver is at fault and does not have liability insurance. And, yes, it also extends to pedestrians.
You may also choose to purchase underinsured motorist coverage, which provides another layer of protection if the faulted driver doesn’t have enough liability coverage to pay for your injuries. It makes up the difference once the other driver’s liability coverage is maxed out. The inadequacy of the liability coverage, even in states with the highest minimum levels for such insurance, is often vividly demonstrated by accidents in which several people were seriously injured and where some received little or no compensation from the liability policy.
When you buy an auto insurance policy, do your homework. Make sure there is adequate protection for you and your family. A comprehensive policy will cover almost every scenario, but at the very least, you need a liability policy – again, it is required by law – and you should thoughtfully consider uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, too.
Remember, three out of every 20 drivers you meet on the road today have no insurance. Protect yourself whether you are behind the wheel or out for a walk.
If you need legal assistance with a motor vehicle claim or issue, call us at the Bailey & Oliver Law Firm. Our team of legal professionals can make sure you get the help you need.