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Why Should I Carry More Car Insurance Than The State-Required Minimum?

We get this question a lot. The fact is that state minimum levels of car insurance are not adequate.  There's a common misconception that by carrying state minimum limits you save yourself money and you don't have to worry about other drivers hitting you because they have their own insurance.  However, if everyone carries minimum insurance, then the coverage available is the bare minimum if you're involved in a serious accident. 

We run into this situation quite often.  Usually it involves a young driver, maybe a teenager who is a passenger in a vehicle, and the vehicle he's driving is owned by another teenager.  The parents decided to give their teenage child state minimum limits to avoid higher costs insurance premiums.  Unfortunately, when the teenager gets seriously injured in an accident, they have to go against their parents' car insurance policy to get additional coverage.  Often, the parents also don't carry more than the state minimum required.  For this reason, the injured teen will likely be stuck with the minimum insurance coverage available. 

In Virginia, the state minimum limits are $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.  This is not enough to cover medical bills and treatment, if you are seriously injured. Take the time to get a new quote from your insurance agent.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how cheap it is to add better coverage to your car insurance policy. Also, consider getting yourself extra benefits such as med pay.  You won't regret this decision.

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Why shouldn’t I just take a quick settlement for whatever the car insurance company for the other driver will pay me?

The problem with just trying to grab a quick settlement with the bad guy’s insurer is that you may settle the case and find out later that you need a surgery or have a permanent injury from the accident.  Once you sign the release papers for the insurance company, there is no coming back to them or their driver ever again for any money for the harm caused to you by the collision, so we generally recommend that you are sure that you are as good as you’re going to get or fully recovered before reaching a settlement agreement with the insurance company.If you attempt to do a quick negotiation with the insurance company on your own, they will think that you must not have been very seriously injured.  You may also say a particular dollar figure that ends up being too low in the long run.  If you have already said that you would settle your case for $10,000.00, the insurance company representative is going to think that that’s the most they’re ever going to have to pay you on that case.  They will never pay you what you ask for in any event.  So if you have tried to get a quick settlement directly with the insurance company, and then hire me to handle the case, the insurance company negotiator is going to throw back in our face that you thought it was only a $10,000.00, no-big-deal accident early on.
About the editors: The motto at Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharplaw firm is simple -“All we do is injury law.” We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you’d like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.

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