Many of our clients at the Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart come to us after a wreck and ask the question, “What kind of insurance do I have or should I have?” While our office is not in the business of selling insurance, we do see certain patterns that inform us as to which insurance coverages are most helpful. You may be asking, what are the different types of automobile coverage?
In Kentucky auto law, there are many aspects to insurance that you need to be aware of if you are in an accident, or you cause an accident. Navigating this without an experienced injury attorney is not advisable. There is insurance dealing with the property damage itself (liability, collision, comprehensive, etc.), which are not covered here and insurance dealing with bodily injury.
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This article addresses the types of bodily injury coverages that may apply to an accident. They are as follows:
Each automobile insurance policy in Kentucky must have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) limits of $10,000, unless specifically rejected. You can see the article on PIP for more information, but basically, this insurance will pay your first $10,000 of either medical bills or lost wages due to an automobile accident. You can purchase additional coverage, but most drivers have the minimum.
When most people say, “I only had liability insurance”, they are referring to the property damage for the vehicle insurance. Bodily injury liability coverage covers damages to passengers or other people injured in an accident which you caused. If you were not at fault, the other vehicle’s liability coverage covers your damages. The minimum amount in Kentucky is $25,000 of this type of coverage.
This coverage is very important if you are severely injured by another driver’s negligence and that driver does not have enough Bodily Injury Liability Coverage to compensate you for your loss.
Example: You have been injured by another driver’s negligence and your medical bills are $30,000, and you have broken bones. The at-fault driver only has $25,000 of bodily injury liability insurance. Your case may be worth significantly more than $25,000. If you purchased UIM, you can get the $25,000 from the at-fault driver, and then proceed to collect your UIM coverage from your own insurance company.
UIM cases come up quite often, especially when there are multiple people injured in the same accident. There simply may not be enough insurance and you need additional coverage. We strongly recommend purchasing UIM coverage.
UM covers you when you are injured by the negligence of another person, but that person does not have insurance. While the law in Kentucky requires that each vehicle have insurance when being driven on the roads, some people allow their insurance to lapse and do not have coverage when they cause an accident. While we do not see this as often as the need for UIM coverage, it is important to have this coverage if you are injured by someone who is uninsured.
If you have significant assets, you may want to consider an umbrella liability policy. This coverage will cover you if you are found liable for injuring someone (either in an automobile accident or otherwise), and the coverage you have was insufficient to pay for the injuries. This insurance is generally inexpensive, but may give you peace of mind in knowing that your assets are protected. These issues are very complicated and you should not attempt to manage them alone.