Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just how “full” is your full coverage?

Olympic Northwest Insurance Have you ever had a close call in traffic that left you with a pounding heart and sweaty palms? Once your racing heart slowed, did you comfort yourself with the thought that your full-coverage car insurance would have been there if things had been worse? You are not alone; we have all had those frightening experiences.

Choosing auto insurance coverage can be compared to ordering a sandwich at your local Subway. You walk in, tell the server what you want and request “The Works”. We often treat our insurance purchases with the same casual assumption. “The Works” means I got everything I can possibly get, right? And then we don’t really listen to what the agent is saying. If this sounds familiar, you may not be getting as much coverage as you had desired.

There are really two types of full coverage: minimum full coverage, and then coverage that is, well, a little more complete.

In the state of Washington the minimum liability coverage required is what’s commonly known as 25/50/10. This protects you if you cause an accident. It pays for the other party’s bodily injury and property damage with a limit of $25,000 per person, and a maximum of $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and an additional $10,000 for their property damage. Also included with your minimum full coverage would be comprehensive and collision insurance which, after a standard $500 deductible (in this example), would replace or repair your vehicle if it were to be involved in an at-fault accident or harmed by something other then another vehicle (maybe a deer on a dark road). You can probably think of other situations when your coverage with “The Works” is in doubt.

In the event of an accident where you are at-fault, and you or your passengers also suffer bodily injury, there is additional insurance coverage available to pay not only your medical bills, but also pay for lost wages and funeral benefits. But it is in addition to “The Works” and you must request it.

What if you didn’t cause the accident yet the other party has no insurance, what to do then? Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage on your policy will take over their part of liability and make sure you are taken care of, even if the other motorist does a hit-and-run! There are different limits of liability insurance coverage available; you don’t have to stay with the minimum limits.

If you are a homeowner, or you have other valuable assets, higher limits are urged to protect your investments and keep a bad accident from taking over your financial life. If the cost of an accident exceeds your insurance liability limit, you could find yourself responsible for the overage. Wouldn’t it be better to make sure your liability is at a limit where you can feel comfortable? Insurance is not an easy subject. There are many programs and options to decide from. Deciding on the right coverage can be confusing and intimidating. It is much easier to do with the help of an empathetic Insurance Agent.

And that’s what I am here for!

Laura Spears is a Feature Writer for Olympic Northwest Insurance in Port Orchard, Washington. She can be reached at (360) 876-0706 or by email at