You really need to know what to do to prepare for a car accident, obviously, in advance of the accident itself. The purpose of this article is try to cover some basics as to what you need to do to protect yourself before an accident happens.
How to Prepare for a Car Accident
This is all about car insurance. It’s all about what kind of coverage you have and how you can protect yourself, right now, today, before any accident happens. The bottom line question in this area is, what can you do to protect yourself from the “other guy.” This means the at-fault driver who causes a crash, hits you and injures you, affecting your life, your work and likely even affecting your relationships. What can you specifically do, right now? Today?
Whether it’s a hit and run, a driver whose insurance has “expired,” a driver who doesn’t carry enough insurance and/or any accident and/or any other type of irresponsible driver, you must do the following:
- You need to contact your own car insurance company and increase your med pay (meaning medical payments coverage) to the highest amount you can afford and to the highest amount that your insurance company provides. Please note: Some insurance companies don’t provide any more than the $5,000 statutory minimum. Other companies provide, for example $25,000 of coverage,
$50,000 of coverage and some even go as high as $100, 000 of coverage. This is for payment of your medical bills. This is critical and essential.
The question you might have is: Why would I have medical payments coverage through my own car insurance company when I have other “health insurance” and I can get my medical bills paid that way? The simple answer is that there is a relatively new Statute in Colorado mandating that the car insurance companies have no rights of subrogation against your recovery against the at-fault driver. This means that your car insurance company has to pay your medical bills, but you do not have to pay them back once you recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you have other regular “health insurance,” there’s a substantial likelihood that you would have to pay part or all of the medical bills back to your Health Insurance Company, by taking that money out of your pocket and giving it back to the insurance company.
The math is simple. Wouldn’t you rather have coverage for your medical bills in a situation where you do not have to pay them back to the Company who paid the medical bills as opposed to having to pay them back. An example is in order. The example is this: Suppose you’re injured in a car crash. Your medical bills are $18,000. You have medical payments coverage with your own car insurance company in the amount of $25,000. Let’s assume you recover $50,000 from the at-fault driver. If this were a health insurance company, as opposed to your car insurance company, you might have to pay either part or all of the $18,000 in medical bills out of your $50,000 recovery back. When you use “med pay,” with your own car insurance company, you have no obligation to pay them back any money from your recovery from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You keep the money.
- You must have the highest “UM” and “UIM” coverage that you can afford. UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage and UIM stands for Under Insured Motorist Coverage.
Let’s discuss UM first. When a driver hits you, and that driver has no car insurance, that is a “UM” (uninsured motorist) situation and event. This means that you are not going to collect any insurance money from the at-fault driver. This also means that the only place you have left to go for insurance recovery, in this example, isyour own car insurance company, namely the “UM” coverage. That will pay for your injuries, damages and losses. Don’t’ you think it is important that you have the highest “UM” and “UIM”coverage that you can afford because that is many times the only insurance money available, usually, to pay you for your injuries, damages and losses.
Next let’s talk about “UIM.” “UIM” stands for “underinsured motorist” coverage. This means that if the at-fault driver who hit you and injured you does not have enough insurance to pay you for your damages, injuries and losses, then you must collect whatever insurance amount that the at-fault driver’s insurance company has, after which time you make a claim against your own car insurance company for the “UIM” coverage. Therefore this “UIM” coverage also pays you for your injuries, damages and losses. Assuming that the at-fault driver has only the statutory minimum of
$25,000 of coverage and assuming that your medical bills are $60,000 and your case is worth
$200,000, then you are never going to get it from the insurance company covering the at-fault party because they only have an obligation to pay up to the $25,000 limit of coverage. Where else do you go? You go to your own “UIM” coverage to pay you the rest of the money for your damages, injuries and losses. If you don’t have the “UIM” coverage then you get nothing paid for your injuries, damages and losses from your insurance company. If you do have “UIM” coverage, then you can make a claim for payment for your injuries, damages and losses.
Although this article can’t cover each and every thing that you must do or every step that you must take to protect yourself before a car accident, it covers some of the major points with regard to car insurance before a car accident, a truck accident, or other trauma occurs.