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THE BASICS OF AUTO INSURANCE (part 1)

THE BASICS OF AUTO INSURANCE (part 1)

North Carolina law requires every driver to carry automobile liability insurance in the minimum amount of 30/60/25.[1]  This means a driver must be insured for a minimum of $30,000 bodily injury or death per person / $60,000 bodily injury or death per accident / $25,000 property damage of others in any one accident.

In plain English, if an at-fault driver with minimum limits causes a wreck with you, you have one other person in the car with you, and both of you are injured, the most that the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay is $30,000 for each you and the other person.  However, if you have two or more people in the car with you, and all of you are injured, the most the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay is a total of $60,000 – and that $60,000 is split between you and the other people.  Also, the most the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for your car is $25,000.  It doesn’t matter if it is a brand new car that you just drove off the showroom floor and for which you just paid $35,000.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the drivers out there who carry minimum limits?

First, let’s understand the basic components of coverage available:

  • Bodily liability insurance will pay for damages to other people as a result of an accident caused by you or another covered driver. Examples of damages include medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.  Bodily liability insurance also provides for a legal defense if another party in the accident files a lawsuit against you.
  • Property damage liability insurance will pay for damages to other people’s property as a result of an accident caused by you or another covered driver. Examples of damages include the repair or totaled value of another person’s vehicle, a child car seat, or a motorcycle or bicycle helmet.
  • Medical payments coverage pays for reasonable and necessary medical and funeral expenses due to an automobile accident. There may also be coverage if you are injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian.
  • Uninsured (UM) motorist coverage will provide protection when an uninsured driver, who is at-fault, injures you or another covered individual.
  • Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage will provide protection when an underinsured driver, who is at-fault, injures you or another covered individual. An underinsured driver is one whose limits of liability coverage are less than your UIM limits, and not enough to cover the losses of the people the underinsured driver injures in an at-fault accident.

If you’ve been injured in a wreck, it is to your advantage to call the attorneys who understand insurance, and get advice.  Call or email us today.

[1] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-279.21.

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