SigMT Vol12 Iss 3

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When people are involved in car accidents, the first question most likely asked is, "What coverage do you have?" e most likely response is, "I have full coverage." Unfortunately, most policy holders don't understand what "full coverage" actually covers. Truth be told, "full coverage" isn't an actual thing. It doesn't exist! It's basically a term finance companies came up with to quickly explain the kind of coverage needed to finance or lease a car. ere is really no magic buon you can push or paper you can sign to add "full coverage" to your policy. In most cases, the lender is covered and there may be minimum coverage under the law. e state of Montana requires motor vehicles to carry minimum liability insurance coverage of $25,000 per person, 50,000.00 per accident for all persons and $20,000.00 property damage (MCA §61-6-103). Additional liability coverage is optional and suggested. $100,000.00 per person, $300,000.00 per accident as recommended by the undersigned. When you hear the term "full coverage car insurance," it typically means a policy that includes: • Liability insurance • Comprehensive and collision If you're found at fault, liability insurance helps pay the expenses of the "other guy." What this really means is that it protects you if you injure the other guy or damage his car. Comprehensive and collision protect your car. ey guard your car against a bunch of hazards like hail damage, tree damage, collisions with animals, vandalism, auto the, car crashes … you name it. To sum it up, the term "full coverage" = liability + comprehensive and collision. is is a good start, but there are still some optional coverages such as: 1. Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): ese coverages protect you from personal injury if someone hits you and either doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance. 2. Medical Payments Coverage: is is designed to pay medical bills for you and the passengers in your car if you are injured in an accident. It doesn't maer whether you are or are not at fault for the accident. is coverage even protects you if you're struck by a car as a pedestrian. Medical payment coverage is very limited and optional and is probably the least understood coverage. Unfortunately, coverage amounts are generally minimal, anywhere from $1,000.00 to 5,000.00. However, the insured has the option of increasing the coverage, and by all means, should if able. ere are some advantages to Medical Payment Coverage: 1) Non fault based - even if the insured is liable, coverage applies. 2) Portable coverage (you are covered even if you are injured in a non-covered vehicle). 3) It is in addition to other medical coverage you may have - i.e. you are entitled to reimbursement, even if Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid or Medicare pays. 4) ere is no subrogation right. Subrogation means the insurance company cannot request reimbursement even if the case seles or there is a court award. 5) It is inexpensive, but boom line…Medical Payment Coverage is a recommended, viable option and should be obtained. I recommend coverage of at least $10,000.00. Contact your insurance agent, aorney or both as soon as possible to discuss your best options in helping to protect you and your loved ones from financial loss. BACK TO BUSINESS Text by Channing Hartelius S MT Channing J. Hartelius is a very successful trial attorney. His focus is on personal injury cases. He has been practicing law for 48 years and is recognized as outstanding in the legal profession. Are You Covered? "Full Coverage" Auto Insurance Fully Disclosed SiG MT 22

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