Selecting the Right Auto Insurance Policy and Protecting Yourself from Uninsured Motorists

Most people have very little understanding of what is covered under their auto insurance policy. Many New Jersey residents find out only after a car crash that they are not insured in situations involving a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, or that the coverage they have chosen doesn’t do what they thought it would do.

New Jersey and No-Fault Insurance

New Jersey is what is considered a “no-fault” auto insurance state. This means that your own insurer will cover the cost of your medical expenses after the accident. This is the case no matter who was at fault in the crash that caused your injuries.

How do you know what the right auto policy is for you? How do you make a wise decision that protects you and your loved ones against financial devastation in the case of a serious accident?

Choosing the Right Protection — Standard and Basic Policies

In New Jersey, drivers must choose between two types of insurance policies: the basic policy or a standard policy. The basic policy is less costly. It just meets New Jersey minimum insurance requirements. It does not include uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage. It pays a maximum of $5,000 in property damage liability coverage for a crash. It has a limit of $15,000 that it will pay toward personal injury protection (PIP) per person, per accident.

The standard insurance policy may be more expensive than a basic policy because it provides a higher level of injury coverage. The minimum that a standard policy covers includes:

  • $15,000 PIP per person
  • $15,000 bodily injury liability for each person, $30,000 per accident
  • $5,000 property damage coverage per incident
  • Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage at the level you determine

A standard policy will allow you to purchase liability insurance that will cover you even in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It will also allow you to choose whether you want the right to sue for damages such as pain and suffering if you or a family member are involved in a car crash caused by another.

Unlimited Right to Sue. This means that you can sue the person who caused the crash. You will pay more for your coverage, but you will be allowed to seek full recovery in the event that you seek compensation for damages over and above medical treatment. The level of severity of the crash does not impact your right to sue with this coverage.

Limited Right to Sue. If you choose this option, you are allowed to sue only in extreme cases, as when the injury caused by another is extreme and meets certain criteria such as loss of a body part, disfiguring injuries or death).

PIP Coverage Choices in New Jersey

Full PIP Primary Coverage. In this case, your PIP will serve as your main coverage regarding injuries to you or your passengers caused in an accident. This includes continuation of your income if you cannot work after the crash, or if you require services that will help you function in your household after the crash. It also includes funeral expenses and death benefits for all those covered under the policy.

Full PIP Health Primary Coverage. This is similar to full PIP primary coverage except that your health insurance will be your primary coverage in this situation. PIP only kicks in after your health insurance coverage reaches its limits.

Medical Only PIP Primary. This coverage pays only for medical costs, not income continuation or any other services.

Medical Only Health Primary. In this case, your health insurance plan is the primary coverage provider for medical expenses related to the accident.

Contact an Experienced NJ Personal Injury Attorney

Knowing which insurance to purchase is critical. Navigating a personal injury claim can be complicated and frustrating during a time when you are feeling most vulnerable. Discuss your concerns with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar, in Cherry Hill, NJ, or in Feasterville, PA.

Find out how we can protect your rights by calling to schedule a confidential, no-cost case evaluation at Local # :(856) 751-7676. You may also e-mail us.