Archive for May, 2009

Will Your Boat Insurance Protect You If You Have A Boating Accident?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Does Your Boat Have Insurance?

Does Your Boat Have Insurance?

During the summer months the chances that someone will be injured in a boating accident are very likely.  Unlike cars, boat operators are not required in Kentucky to have an operating license or driver education.  This increases the chances that an operator of a boat will be involved in an accident, whether or not it’s his fault.

Thousands of boats take to the lakes and rivers of Kentucky each year without insurance.  Did you know that if you’re injured in a boat accident you might not be entitled to recover your lost wages, medical expenses, disability, or pain and suffering?  Unlike car insurance that is mandatory, boat insurance is purely optional.  Chances are you could be riding on an uninsured boat or injured by one.  Operating a boat without insurance isn’t worth the risk.

Like cars, boat insurance is available.  If you are considering buying boat insurance, make sure that it includes liability coverage to protect you in the event that you injure your passengers or people riding on another boat.  It should also include medical payments coverage to pay medical expenses incurred by those injured on your boat that is not involved in an accident.  You may also wish to purchase uninsured watercraft coverage if you or your passengers are injured by another boat that does not carry insurance.

Unfortunately, this coverage is optional and must be purchased in addition to the coverages mentioned earlier.  However, many insurance policies offer discounts similar to car insurance for experienced boaters or those who have taken operation classes.

If you own a boat or plan on riding one this summer, make sure it has insurance in case of a boating accident.  If it does, make sure it has the optional uninsured watercraft coverage in the event the accident is caused by an uninsured boat owner or operator.  Given the speed and the lack of safety restraints or features, injures suffered in boating accidents can be catastrophic and even result in death.  Don’t take chances.  Make sure your boat is insured.

For more information on what you should do in case of a boat accident, visit the boater education website BOATED.

Things You Should Know About “Full” Coverage

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Does Your Insurance Policy Really Provide Full Coverage?

Does Your Insurance Policy Really Provide Full Coverage?

When I ask my clients about the amounts and types of coverage they have, I am often told that they have “full” coverage.  While I suspect this might be true, you should know that “full” coverage may not mean what you think.  Here are some things you should know.

“Full” coverage  typically means that your car, truck, or auto has liability coverage and collision or comprehensive coverage.  What’s the difference?  Liability insurance protects you in the event you’re in an accident that is your fault.  If someone is injured or their property damaged, your liability coverage will provide protection and pay compensation to the injured person.  In Kentucky, it is mandatory that all motor vehicles carry at least $25,000 in liability coverage.

Collision coverage will pay to have your car fixed, if it is damaged in an accident with another car.   Comprehensive coverage will pay to have your car fixed, if it is damaged by something other than an accident, say a falling tree branch, theft, or vandalism.

None of these coverages protect you in the event you are injured by an uninsured driver or a driver who carries insufficient insurance.  Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage are coverages that you purchase to protect yourself.  Be sure to tell your insurance agent that you wish for these coverages to be included on your policy.  Don’t accept claims that you’re “fully” covered.  Make sure to specifically ask for these types of coverages and make sure they are provided by your agent.  If your current policy does not offer these benefits it might be wise to call you agent and have them included.

Should You Avoid PIP Deductibles?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Should Your PIP Coverage Contain A Deductible?

Should Your PIP Coverage Contain A Deductible?

Kentucky law allows insurance carriers to offer PIP benefits subject to a deductible up to $1,000.00.  Like other deductibles, the PIP deductible is co-insurance you must pay first on any claim filed under that coverage.  So, if your injured in an auto, car, or truck accident and you seek medical care, you are required to pay your deductible up to the maximum amount before your insurance begins paying.

PIP deductibles, like health insurance deductibles, are appealing because they reduce the insurance premiums people pay on their auto, car or truck.  You might be tempted to save a few dollars on your bill and get the deductible, thinking you’ll never use it.  This might be a mistake.

The chances that you might be injured in an auto, car or truck accident are far greater then your chance for any other type of injury.  Medical bills from these types of injuries are usually in excess of the $1,000 deductible, leaving very few times when you avoid paying the full amount of the deductible.  Ultimately, you’re left with $1,000 in medical bills, which may be more than you can afford at a time you can least afford it. If you’re injured in a second accident within that policy year, you’re subject to another $1,000 deductible.

If you chose to have a deductible, make sure you understand the consequences.  If you are unsure a deductible has been applied, read your declaration page provided with your insurance policy.  This page outlines the coverages and premiums contained in your policy and should alert you to the need to pay a deductible if you use your PIP coverage.  Make sure you determine if a deductible is a wise financial decision.  If the cost without the deductible is less than the deductible per year, you might be better off without it.

Renting A Car For Vacation? Buy The Insurance!

Friday, May 15th, 2009
Rental car insurance kentucky accident information attorney

Renting A Car On Vacation?

Summer is almost here and many will chose to take a vacation.  Whether you are looking to rent a car after flying to your destination or you rent a van or other passenger vehicle for a long trip, you might want to buy the insurance offered by the rental car company.  Many driver’s assume that their insurance will cover them if they are involved in an accident while driving a rental car.  Driver’s often opt to rely on their own policy and forgo paying the additional charge for rental insurance.  This may be a mistake.

Many policies of insurance exclude coverage for rental vehicles, including property damage to the vehicle you’ve rented.  Accidents can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and bodily injury.  The small sums you are required to pay for additional insurance, while renting a vehicle, are well worth the cost.  Don’t put yourself at risk.  Read your policy to make sure you know what is covered.  Or you might just want to buy the insurance to be safe.

If I Am Involved In An Auto, Car, Or Truck Accident, How Will My Medical Bills Be Paid?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
Who Pays My Doctor Bills After An Accident?

Who Pays My Doctor Bills After An Accident?

If you’ve been involved in an car or truck accident in Kentucky and receive injuries, there are multiple sources for payment of your medical bills. The first and most likely resource is basic reparations benefits, better known as PIP.  Each Kentucky insurance company that writes insurance in the state must make available $10,000.00 in PIP benefits to its insureds.  If you are injured in an accident involving a car or truck, you are entitled to up to $10,000.00 for reasonable and necessary medical bills.

You can also purchase additional coverage, called additional or added reparations benefits (ARB’s).  These benefits provide coverage for medical bills and other economic losses in excess of the $10,000.00 in standard PIP.  Once the $10,000.00 is spent, medical providers bill the additional coverage.

If you are a pedestrian, you are entitled to PIP from the car or truck that hit you.  If you are a passenger, you’re entitled to PIP from the driver’s insurance.  If the driver doesn’t have insurance, you can get PIP under your own car or truck policy.  If you don’t have a car insurance, you can get PIP from the Assigned Claims Plan, but you must qualify first.

You can also use private health insurance, public health insurance, such as Medicare or Medicaid, or private pay to get the treatment you need.  Those companies will often reserve the right to recover their payments from any proceeds you get from a lawsuit.  If you don’t have health insurance, many medical providers will offer treatment conditioned on being paid from any money you recover in a lawsuit.

Like lost wages medical expenses above the $10,000.00 in PIP are recoverable against the person at fault.  Often it is your obligation to repay any private or public health insurance company out of your settlement proceeds.

Remember, if you’ve incurred medical bills in excess of PIP, will need future medical bills paid, or will suffer long term impairment from your injuries, you should consider retaining a qualified accident attorney to help resolve excess medical bills and liens.

How To Recover Your Lost Wages From A Kentucky Accident.

Monday, May 11th, 2009
Recovering Your Lost Wages

Recovering Your Lost Wages

If you were injured in an accident and miss work, you are entitled to recover your lost wages.  Your first source of recovery is lost wages paid through PIP.  Unfortunately, the legislature has capped PIP payments for lost wages at $200 a week.  Hardly, sufficient to compensate someone for the likely wages they have lost.  You should know you are entitled to the difference.

You will recover this amount from the party at fault when you make your claim.  For instance, if you miss three weeks of work and earn $400 a week in lost wages, PIP will pay you a total $600 in lost wages.  Your actual wage loss is $1,200.  The difference of $600 is recoverable when you make a claim for “bodily injury.”  This figure should be included in any negotiations with the insurance company. The insurance company that settles your bodily injury claim will also be responsible for paying back the sums paid under PIP.

What You Should Do If You Are Involved In An Accident

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Nobody plans on being in an accident.  However, the fact remains in 2006, there were 2,575,000 people injured in car accidents in the United States.  The chances of you being involved in an accident are far greater then you might think.  Don’t plan on being in an accident.  Plan on being prepared in the event you are.

Here’s what you should do.  Take a deep breath.  Make sure your car’s transmission is placed in park and that the engine is turned off.  Place your hazard lights on.  Check to make sure you are not seriously injured.  If you aren’t, check any passengers who might be.  Before exiting your vehicle make sure it is safe.  If it isn’t safe, don’t exit.  If you have a cell phone, call and report the accident to the police.  If traffic remains heavy or you’re in a dangerous position, wait until the police arrive to exit your car.

If it’s safe, exit your car and check on the driver and passenger of the other car.  If nobody is injured and the cars are obstructing traffic, move them out of the roadway and into a safe position.  If  someone is injured do not move the person or the car.  If necessary mark the roadway with flares or cones.

If the accident involves injuries or if the property damage is in excess of $500.00, a report will need to be taken.  You should call the Kentucky State Police or other law enforcement agency to investigate.  If the accident is minor and the property damage is less then $500.00, you will not need to call the police.  However, you should fill out a civilian traffic report.  You can get one here.

Whether or not the police take a report, it is wise to get the name, address, and telephone number of the driver, all passengers, and any independent witnesses.  Driver’s license and license plate numbers are also helpful.  Also, take down any insurance information the other driver might have.  Make note of any road, weather, or other conditions that might have contributed to the accident.  You might want to look at the Kentucky State Police Civilian Traffic Report for additional information that might be needed.

If emergency personnel do come to the scene, have them check on you  even if you don’t think you are injured.  It is better to be safe.  If you leave the scene and later develop pain or muscle soreness, call your doctor or visit the emergency room.  It is not uncommon for injuries such as whiplash to develop much later.