Often it takes a
motor vehicle collision to realize that your auto insurance is insufficient and not comprehensive.
This is the final blog post in a series that identifies critical elements
of your auto insurance coverage and how to ensure that, going forward,
you have maximum protection in the event of an accident. For many reasons,
but most importantly when your car is hit by an uninsured driver, it is
imperative that you carry collision coverage on your auto insurance policy.
Our firm has seen a plethora of accidents this year in which our clients
are unable to get their cars repaired due to the lack of coverage on their
own policies. Specifically, these clients have elected not purchase collision
coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident.
While you will have to pay a deductible in order to have your car repaired,
it is a critical aspect of your coverage even if you have an older and
less valuable vehicle. Below are several scenarios where our client's'
vehicles are damaged due to no fault of their own but they are without
a vehicle for days, weeks or even months after an accident.
First, uninsured drivers are rampant across the greater Baltimore area.
I have countless clients who are struck by motorists driving without insurance.
In the second blog of this series, I explained how UM (uninsured motorist)
coverage is important in such a situation. However, you can have ample
UM coverage on your policy but waive your collision coverage. This means
that, in a scenario where you are hit by an uninsured driver, you can
make a bodily injury claim but will not be able to have your car repaired
until a UM claim is established by your insurance company. This process
can take weeks and sometimes a month or more. Pragmatically speaking,
this is a major inconvenience, as it means your ability to get to work,
run errands and take care of your family can be significantly impaired.
Remember, your auto insurance may come into play repeatedly after an accident
caused by another driver. It's not enough to hope that other drivers
have acted responsibly with regards to their auto coverage.
A second common scenario is a hit and run accident, where the driver flees
the scene of a motor vehicle collision. Again, our firm sees this scenario
on a very regular basis. Here, you will also make a UM claim with your
insurance company but the investigation process can take several weeks.
It is not as if your insurance company does not believe your version of
what happened but, due to years of insurance fraud in our country, it
will investigate the claim in a very serious and thorough manner. This
means that your insurance company will often wait for a police report
if available and/or assign a special investigator to look into the circumstances
of the accident. In the meantime, if you do not carry collision coverage,
you may be without your vehicle for a significant period of time. Many
of may clients tell me that they do not have collision coverage because
they have an old vehicle with little value. Here is what I tell them:
IF IT DRIVES, THEN YOU NEED TO CARRY COLLISION COVERAGE. Just think about
what it would be like to not have your car for just one week, regardless
of its age or value.
The final scenario is also very common at our firm, particularly because
of the awful liability laws in Maryland. This is a disputed liability
accident. I am consistently meeting with clients who were in an accident
due to no fault of their own. However, when there is a disagreement between
drivers as to how the accident occurred, it is very likely that the other
insurance company will "believe their insured's version,"
and deny any liability for the accident and refuse to pay bodily injury
and property damage claims. Yes, it is true, other drivers lie after they
cause an accident! Without independent witnesses or other favorable post-accident
evidence, many of my clients will ultimately have no claim going forward.
This is an unfair situation but it happens all the time in Maryland.
Many times our firm obtains evidence after the accident that supports our
client's version of events in a disputed case. In these situations,
we will file suit and fight for our clients in court in order to ultimately
obtain justice for them. This process can take many months and sometimes
a year or more. In the meantime, if there is no collision coverage on
my client's policy, she will be without her car indefinitely or be
forced to spend unplanned money on the purchase of a new vehicle.
So for all these above reasons, you can see how important it is to carry
collision on your auto policy. I am repeatedly educating my clients, when
evaluating their polices, that they need to protect themselves because
there way too many irresponsible motorists on the road in Maryland who
drive with no or little insurance coverage on their vehicles.
If you have any questions about collision coverage or other aspects of
your auto insurance coverage,
contact the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow at (410) 777-8960.
DON'T SETTLE FOR ANYONE ELSE!