Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Coverage

Good afternoon and welcome to our show today. My name is Cindy Speaker and I have with me
as my guest, attorney David Daggett of Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law. Hello, Cindy. Always good to have you. Thank you, Cindy. Great to be with you today. Great to be with you. Well, we’re going to talk about car insurance
today and I think you’re gonna give us some recommendations because people don’t always
know what coverages to choose. Very, very exciting subject. It’s kind of like your windshield wipers. You never know it’s time to change them until
it starts raining. So what I like to tell people to do is check
your windshield wipers in advance, so that when you have snowstorm or a rainstorm, you’re
still safe and can see well. That’s great advice. The same thing applies to your auto insurance,
is you need to check your auto insurance before it rains or snows to make sure you’re covered
in the event a bad thing happens. So, here is the problem in North Carolina
and most states also have this. Some are lower and some are higher but the
law imposes minimum insurance coverage that you have to have. Minimum insurance coverage in North Carolina
is called 30/60, which means it’s $30,000 per individual, $60,000 total per accident,
no matter how many people are involved. Now here’s where the real catch is. If you go into an insurance agent and say,
“I need insurance coverage and just give me full coverage and I’m fine,” full coverage
is a complete misnomer. It means nothing. So you don’t know what you’re going to get
when you say give me “full coverage.” Unfortunately, estimates are 70% or more people
on the road only have that 30/60 coverage. So, if I’m at fault in a wreck, I’m only covered
up to $30,000. If I hurt somebody in a wreck, my insurance
will only pay them up to $30,000 and as we all know, if you go to the emergency room,
get run through some tests, that’s worth anything, you can eat up that $30,000 very, very quickly,
which means you’re now not protected beyond that and a real misnomer about personal injury
attorneys and people don’t understand this, is because 70% of people have that minimum
coverage, that means that 70% of people that are in terribly bad accidents, virtually have
no recourse. They have no place to go. It’s really a tough situation that we have
in our society and just like when a rainstorm sneaks up and your wipers aren’t any good,
when that bad accident happens, it’s a tough situation for people. So what do you recommend? So here’s what I recommend. I recommend that you have at least 100/300
coverage. That’s $100,000 per individual up to $300,000
total per accident. Now what happens is, is that the more insurance
you get, it gets incrementally cheaper. So the 100/300 isn’t three and a third times
more expense than the 30/60. It gets incrementally cheaper as you go along. The other thing, and this is where I really
believe in local insurance agents. I’m not knocking online. I’m not knocking anything else but I really
believe in local insurance agents. Because now you can go online, you search
for your insurance coverage, you find the cheapest thing there is, well that computer
that spits out the answer has no idea what my family situation is, what my financial,
those sort of things on coverage. Your local insurance agent, who’s in the office
building down the street or down the road, you can go in and sit with them and they can
help you figure out what is best for you. So I recommend you either have a minimum of
100/300 coverage or whatever your net worth is, you should have that much coverage. That way you’re protected. I think I just lost an earbud. I can hear you out of one ear. That’s what I recommend and if bad things
happen, you’ll be happy you have that sort of insurance coverage. That makes…go ahead. No, I’m sorry. I was going to ask you, what about uninsured
drivers? How do you compensate for that? Are you reading my mind? That’s where I was going to go. We also have, a high percentage of uninsured
drivers out on the road. Uninsured mean drivers that don’t have any
insurance coverage at all but we also what’s called underinsured drivers and that’s the
situation we were talking about. That other driver just has $30,000 in coverage. They hit you and break your leg. You have $50,000 in medical expenses, you’re
out of work for an extended period of time, your claim is obviously worth more than that
$30,000 of coverage. Then you have underinsured coverage. So underinsured coverage picks up when somebody
else has too low of coverage. Uninsured coverage picks up if they don’t
have any coverage. There’s far more uninsured drivers out there
on the road than you would ever imagine. So those are important coverages to have. So if you get that 100/300 coverage that we
talked about, you automatically get 100/300 of uninsured and underinsured coverage to
go with that unless you sign a waiver declining it. Don’t sign that waiver. Do not sign that waiver. In North Carolina, you can get the underinsured
coverage and the uninsured coverage up to a million dollars in coverage. The real truth is it doesn’t cost all that
much more to get that additional coverage and particularly if you have a family with
kids and those sort of things, if you get laid up after an accident and you’re out of
your job for awhile, it can run up really, really, quickly. It sure can. So people are gonna say, “What about health
insurance?” And this is where these claims get really,
really complicated because there’s inner workings between all your different types of insurance. Lots of health insurance has to be repaid
from car insurance. If there’s a liability claim, a lot of insurance
policies these days have high deductibles. It gets very, very complicated. In fact one of the law partners in our firm,
Julie Bell, she’s the foremost expert in the state of North Carolina, in my opinion, on
the interaction between health insurance, whether that’s through your employer, Medicare,
Medicaid, military; they all have different liens and reimbursement policies if you collect
from auto insurance. So, it’s complicated. Now David, what kicks in first? Does the auto insurance kick in first? Does your health insurance kick in first in
terms of your medical? Well, there’s one more there, so that I can
complicate it more. Many people have what’s called medical payments
coverage on their auto policy and that is like having health insurance on your car. By saying that, that’s not fault based coverage. It doesn’t make any difference who’s at fault. Lots of times you see medical payment coverage
in $1,000, sometimes it’s higher, $5,000 or $10,000, but that’s regardless of fault. The other interesting thing about all of this,
you’re gonna probably shoot me later. I’m getting way too complicated. No, this is great. But those coverages also cover you if you’re
a pedestrian and get hit by a car. It covers you if you’re a runner, a jogger,
and you’re out and get hit by a car. It covers you if you’re riding a bicycle and
you’re out and you get hit by a car. So, if you’re an active individual, even more
reason to have good auto insurance coverage, ’cause it covers you in different ways that
most people just don’t realize. And again, that’s where you may want to consult
with an attorney because those things get extremely complicated to pursue. Now, on that med pay coverage, how much do
you recommend of that? Well, it typically, five, $10,000 dollars,
but what you want to look at is, and this is again, where I say get an agent down the
street or something who can look at the full picture because now what you have is you have
higher deducible health insurance policies. We didn’t have that in the old days, but that’s
pretty standard now. That you could have 5,000, 7,500 or 10,000
for a family as a deductible for your health insurance coverage. So that medical payments coverage, you might
be filling in for your deductible before your health insurance kicks in while you’re waiting
for the long process of the auto coverage to take care of things. Again, it’s a complicated situation and the
way all those parts interweave can really be unique and specific to an individual situation
and that’s why I always advise getting the best advice you can, as early as you can. That makes sense. It really does. Now, David, one more thing. What about calling the insurance company. I’ve always heard you should call them within
24 hours. Is that true or do you call an attorney first? Well, you have an obligation under your insurance
policy to report a claim to your insurance company. What I always, always recommend is there’s
nothing wrong with reporting the claim. Do not get into the specific facts or what
other insurances apply, because remember when they’re adjusting the claims, what they’re
lookin’ for is how can we pay out as little as possible. They’re a business trying to make a profit. They’re not lookin’ to pay out money. They’re lookin’ to keep money. I recommend that you can give the basic information
to report the claim but do not let them record you in any sort of way and do not go into
specific facts until you speak with an attorney. An example of that is North Carolina is one
of four or five states left that has a law called Contributory Negligence. And what that means is, if you’re even one
percent at fault, even if the other side is 99% at fault, you under North Carolina law,
are not entitled to a penny, for all you’ve been through. Savvy and experienced insurance adjusters,
what they’ll try to get you to do, is admit something that can add up to that one percent
at fault and just that one percent can completely bar your claim. That’s why you don’t want to go into specifics
with the insurance company. Okay. This is really valuable advice. It’s complicated stuff. Everybody has auto insurance, or they’re supposed
to and you think it’s easy. You just go down, get a policy, and they take
care of it if something bad goes wrong. It’s just not that simple when a bad thing
happens. David, if someone wants to reach out to you,
your firm, what’s the best way to do that? Well, you can contact us all sorts of different
ways. We just handled quite a number of inquiries
this morning and one in the middle of the night that came through our Facebook page. You can go to our website,
or call us at 336-724-1234. We’re all over the internet and our team is
terrific at responding to people in a very timely manner. Yes, you are. I know that about you, for sure. Well, David, thanks for being with us today. Yep. Remember, check those windshield wipers before
it starts raining. For those of you who are watching, live or
by replay, you can leave your questions or comments right on this page and David will
get back to you. He’s really good about that. Absolutely. Thank you. Thanks everybody. Have a great day.

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