Car insurance, Personal Injury

Do I Have Enough Car Insurance?

female confused about car insurance

Too often this question is asked after a car accident instead of before. Hopefully you are the exception – a consumer doing your due diligence as you shop around for the best deal.  Perhaps you have questions that you can’t seem to get a straight, clear answer about.  Below are a few items some of my former clients surely wished they had known BEFORE they were in a car accident:


I know it’s not kind to yell, so please forgive my all-caps headline (above), but I want to drive this point home because it really is that important.  I know some wonderful people who were seriously injured but were are forced to walk away with little or no compensation because the other driver did not have adequate/any insurance or assets to go after and they did not have sufficient coverage themselves.  You need to protect yourself and others who may operate your vehicle(s) by having the proper coverage, which can be different for each person’s situation.

In order to have a baseline of how protected you are, it is a good idea to take a quick look at the Declaration page of your car insurance policy to see the coverages you have purchased (among other things).  Below is a quick reference to the main coverages for an Arizona car insurance policy and what each coverage actually means:

LiabilityProvides coverage for the other driver.  This coverage is legally required in Arizona.   ARS § 28-4009(2)(b).  The current minimum bodily injury coverage in Arizona is $25,000 (per person), $50,000 (per incident).  The minimum liability coverage required in Arizona for property damage is $15,000.  Sometimes this is written as 25/50/15.

For example, let’s say you driving and are involved in a car accident while transporting one passenger.  You have been determined to be not at fault.  The other driver had the minimum Arizona coverage required.  If each person in your car is injured and incurs approximately $25,000 in damages, you could each recover $25,000 since that amount does not exceed the per person amount ($25,000 each) or the per incident amount ($50,000 combined).  It obviously gets a bit trickier as you increase the number of people involved.  Sometimes there just isn’t enough money available under the policy to cover everyone’s damages adequately.  This makes the optional coverages mentioned later an important thing to consider purchasing.

ComprehensiveTakes care of damage to your car if it sustains damage outside a motor vehicle accident (think: fallen tree, fire, or vandalism).  This coverage is optional.

CollisionCovers damage to your vehicle regardless of who is at fault (minus your deductible).  This coverage is optional.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (aka UIM) – This “supplements” the other driver’s liability coverage for an accident they caused in case their policy limits are too low to cover all your damages.  This coverage is optional.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (aka UM) – May apply when the other driver’s insurance has lapsed or if an excluded driver was operating the at fault vehicle (or the liability claim is denied for any other reason).  This coverage is optional.

Medical Payments (aka Medpay) – This is money that goes directly toward your medical bills, regardless of who is determined to be at fault.  Sometimes this is referred to as “no fault” insurance.  This coverage is optional.

As you can see, the law only requires a minimal amount of coverage under the liability portion of a car insurance policy, which protects other drivers – not you.  The remaining options are just that —optional.  Unless you take steps to protect yourself and others who operate your motor vehicle, you may be stuck with compensation that fails to truly make you whole after a car accident.  I encourage you to visit with a licensed insurance agent to discuss whether your current coverage is adequate in the event you or a loved one are involved in a car accident.

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