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Everyone should have insurance on their motor vehicle. If you purchase motor vehicle insurance, you will purchase or be given the option of purchasing the following insurance:
All of these coverages are important, and all should be purchased. The only significant exception to purchasing them all is collision coverage may not make sense if the vehicle you are insuring is of nominal value. Unfortunately, most people think that if they have purchased collision insurance, they have "full coverage." Such is clearly not the case, as we will try to explain.
Collision. This coverage protects you against the cost of repairing your own vehicle, in the situation where the accident is to some degree your own fault or the other party in the accident did not have insurance. In many ways, it is the least important coverage and unfortunately, it is the only one most people pay any attention to.
Comprehensive. This coverage protects you against damage or loss of your vehicle from something that might happen which is not related to the vehicle being driven, such as theft, fire, wind, hail, etc. Hitting a deer is also covered under this provision as such is not thought to be related to any negligence in the way in which the car was operated.
Med Pay Coverage. This coverage provides payment for medical bills that are the result of a motor vehicle accident. This coverage applies, even if the bills are incurred in an accident when you were not in your car, or possibly even if in another car. By law, every policy should have $1,000 of med pay coverage, but more is better, unless health insurance is expected to pay all of your bills.
Liability. Liability coverage is purchased to protect you if you get sued because of a car accident that you caused. This is perhaps the most important insurance you will buy, not only because it will prevent you from going bankrupt, but also because it is part of your responsibility as a driver of a what can be an instrument of destruction, a motor vehicle. How much insurance is enough? As much as you can afford, and get your insurance agent to quote you the difference to buy higher policies. And the amount of liability insurance you purchase is doubly important because it dictates the maximum amount of uninsured and underinsured coverage you can buy.
$100/300,000 policies are absolutely not enough and any policy which provides a split coverage, provides an illusion of more coverage than you actually get. A $100/300,000 policy only provides $100,000 available to settle any one persons injuries. $100,000 is about what the medical bills would be for one weeks hospitalization in a serious accident. Even accidents where people walk away from the wreck, often have values above $100,000 and these are not the false and inflated claims the insurance companies want you to believe. If a younger person suffers a neck or back injury which prevents them from returning to their current employment, the damages will almost always exceed $100,000. If a 20 year old person's income is reduced even $2 an hour as a result of injuries, the loss of earning capacity over such person's life will exceed $100,000. Damages in motor vehicle accident cases also include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and past and future medical bills. For info on damages in personal injury actions, click here.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage. As Wisconsin law does not require everyone to have insurance, the legislature has mandated that every insurance policy which is sold in Wisconsin include protection against accidents caused by uninsured motorists. Such coverage is called "uninsured motorist coverage". Wisconsin law mandates that such insurance must be for a minimum of $25,000 and tragically many insurance agents, even when the people have bought larger liability policies, sell the minimum amount. Uninsured coverage can not be purchased for more than the maximum amount of the liability coverage. This coverage is extremely important because it protects you against being damaged, by what are often the worst drivers on the road, including many drivers who don't have insurance because there driving licenses have been revoked or suspended.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Even more important than "uninsured motorist coverage" is underinsured motorist coverage. Where uninsured, protects you from the driver who doesn't have any insurance, underinsured protects you from someone who doesn't have enough. As discussed above, almost no one has enough insurance, so it is imperative that you buy as much of this coverage as you can avoid. There are a lot more underinsured drivers in Wisconsin than uninsured drivers. Those with drunk driving convictions and financial responsibility violations, only have to prove they have $25,000 of insurance.
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