With companies offering to save up to 15% on car insurance rates in just fifteen minutes, one has to think twice about what he or she is getting for their money. Buyer beware, todays savings may cost individuals and their families dearly in the long run if the unexpected occurs. Learn what you need to know about buying and renewing your New Jersey automobile insurance policy in order to protect yourself, your family, and your finances…
NJ Car Insurance
Who in their right mind isn’t interested in saving money? Just hearing the word discount can get consumers excited. In the case of auto insurance however, the old adage, you get what you pay for rings true. New Jersey motor vehicle owners continue to pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the country. Despite years of rewriting the laws, people are getting less coverage for their money. As such, wanting to save money on pricey premiums can be tempting especially with targeted commercials offering to save 15% or more. Before blindly signing a contract with the insurance company, it is important to take the time to understand the insurance coverage beyond the premium paid.
“People tend to only look at the bottom line payment when renewing their automobile insurance policies,” says Garry Salomon, Esq., author of The New Jersey Consumers Guide to New Jersey Personal Injury Claims. “Unfortunately, people do not realize that the few dollars they seem to be saving up front can actually cost them and their family big in the long run. It can ruin their credit and even force them into bankruptcy. By signing to pay a slightly lower premium, individuals are unknowing giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance coverage when they need it most.”
Fully understanding policy specifics before signing can be difficult especially when it comes to the insurance jargon outlined on an automobile insurance declarations page. The types of coverage listed seem like they are written in code, causing many to overlook the details. This ambiguity is what insurance companies hope consumers don’t understand, saving the insurance companies a pretty penny on the basic insurance benefits they are giving out.
There are 5 major areas to take into consideration when purchasing an automobile insurance policy in New Jersey. Below, Garry R. Salomon, Esq. breaks them down in simple terms, so take our your insurance declarations page and lets make sure that 15% savings won’t actually cost you hundreds of thousand in the future:
1. BODILY LIABILITY COVERAGE:
Never Accept Basic Coverage
This refers to the part of your policy that will be used to cover any injuries that you may cause to other people in an accident for which you were deemed at fault. Surprisingly, Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is not included on a basic policy in New Jersey. If you choose the basic coverage, be aware that you may be saving money initially but if an at-fault accident should occur, your policy will not be able to protect you if someone is injured. This means you are on the hook financially for any accident you cause resulting in injuries to another person. Salomon recommends you chose Bodily Injury coverage with a minimum of 100/300 limits meaning the insurance company will cover injuries to others you may have injured, $100,000 per person, up to $300,000 total per accident. If the you have more than $100,000 in assets, the coverage should be higher.
2. PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY:
Increase to a Minimum of $50,000
If you select the basic policy, you are required to carry only $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage. This amount must cover damages to the cars and property that may have been damaged by you or another person driving your car. Without the proper Property Damage Liability coverage, you will be personally responsible for the repairs to the other cars and property you damaged in an accident. Think about the replacement value of a 2018 Mercedes if you ran into one!
Your own vehicle repairs would fall under the optional Collision and Comprehensive coverage which will likely be subject to a deductible.
3. (PIP) PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION:
Never Accept Only $15,000 of Medical Coverage and Never Make Your Health Insurance Primary
New Jersey is a No-Fault state which means your PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage pays for
your own medical treatment following an accident regardless of who is at fault for the accident. The basic policy provides minimal Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage up to $15,000 (other than a limited
exception for catastrophic brain trauma). Some policies are even making your Major Medical primary, meaning if you are injured in an auto accident, regardless of fault, your own major medical insurance will pick up the tab. Complications arise if you receive a legal settlement for your injuries.
Some major medical carriers are able to request full repayment of the money they paid for your medical bills
resulting from the accident from your portion of the settlement!
It is important to obtain the proper PIP coverage in the amount of $250,000 to cover auto related medical expenses. PIP benefits also include other types of No-Fault coverage as well, such as payments for a portion of any lost wages and essential services such as housekeeping which you may require as you heal.
4. UIM/UM COVERAGE:
The basic New Jersey automobile policy does not provide Uninsured (UM) or Underinsured (UIM) coverage. This coverage is insurance you purchase as protection against other drivers who are either uninsured or do not have enough insurance to pay for your damages. With all the cheaply insured vehicles driving around these days, you need to protect yourself in case you are a victim of an accident. If someone has little or no Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (see #1) and you do not have any UIM/UM coverage, you may not receive any compensation for your injuries no matter how severe they may be! Opting for high UIM/UM is a must. The best option purchasing UIM coverage is to make it equal to your Bodily Injury policy limits, with a minimum of 100/300.
The basic policy includes a Verbal Threshold which is a limited right to sue option. With a verbal threshold you must meet strict criteria if you were injured due to the fault of another driver. In order to bring a legal claim, under a verbal threshold, you must have a medically documented and certified “permanent injury” regardless of any pain and suffering.
The other option, is a Zero or No threshold that does not restrict you from filing a legal claim against someone that has caused you injuries, enabling you to recover for any losses.
Purchasing New Jersey Automobile Insurance is necessary but confusing if you do not know what to look for. Garry Salomon, Esq. always recommends buying your policy from an independent insurance agent who can help you through the process. You can watch Salomon’s full length “Understanding Your Insurance Policy” video with the QR code to the left.
“Too often we see people realize that the auto policy they purchased did not fully cover them when an accident occurred. Some people consult my office with severe injures and pain and suffering, but they do not realize that the insurance policy they saved a few dollars on, actually cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost benefits. My words of advice, always make sure you, your family, and your finances are covered in case the unthinkable happens.”
Garry Salomon is giving the readers of The Injury Lawyer a FREE copy of his book, The Consumer’s Guide to New Jersey Personal Injury Claims. The easy to read full length guide explains what you need to know before and after an accident occurs.
Get your FREE copy today by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 201-808-2877