by HGD staff
A lot of Alabama motorists worry about their insurance premiums, and rightfully so. Some reports show enormous increases in auto insurance premiums over the past few years. According to Forbes, auto insurance rates have escalated by as much as 21.5% just since 2012, and those numbers are only going up.
So, when motorists get into an accident, they rightfully get worried about how the accident will affect their rates. This can mean some people even avoid using their own optional benefits, often to their own detriment.
At Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, we know an auto accident can be frustrating, and we understand the confusion that abounds on the Internet. So, if you have been hurt by someone else’s careless or reckless driving in Alabama, give us a call to get real answers from a winning team of attorneys.
Using Your Own Insurance After a Collision
Alabama is a tort-based or fault-based state, which means each driver is responsible for the harm he or she causes. If you cause a crash, you (and your insurance company) are responsible for paying for the damages you caused. No one should have to bear the burden of paying for their own injuries if someone else caused them. For this reason, a lot of people are reluctant to submit claims to their own insurance companies when someone else was at fault. There are, oddly enough, times when you should use your own insurance. Here are several key benefits you ought to use:
- Medical Payments: Medical payments operate a lot like health coverage. They are completely optional in Alabama, which means if you have the coverage, you are paying extra for it. “Med Pay” is designed to pay for things your health coverage will not, like emergency room visits, ambulance charges, and other bills that are a result of the car accident. And yes, you read that correctly. In many instances your health insurance will refuse to pay for accident-related care if there is another source of payment, like auto insurance. So med pay can keep you out of collections and get your bills paid quickly.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Think you are fine carrying minimum liability insurance? Think again. Your liability coverage only protects you if you cause an accident and hurt someone else. It does not protect you if an uninsured driver causes you injuries. For this, you will need to carry optional UM/UIM benefits. Yes, they cost more. But if you or a loved one are put in the hospital with expensive injuries and the other driver is unemployed, has no money, and carries no insurance, you will be glad you did. Oh, and before you say it is rare, consider that the Insurance Information Institute reports that Alabama has the sixth highest number of uninsured drivers in the country with over 18% of all motorists failing to carry basic coverage.
Will Premiums Go Up?
It is possible. Then again, you have paid for the benefits for years, all the while hoping you would never have to use them. If you choose to shortchange yourself by not using the benefits you have paid for, then you might as well stop paying those extra premiums for insurance. After all, why carry it? Also, keep in mind that insurance companies can raise rates for just about any reason. Chances are that they will raise your premiums even if you do not use your optional benefits.
You should speak with an attorney, discuss how these insurance coverages might increase your overall financial recovery, and then you can decide whether to proceed.
Am I Making Rates Go Up for Everyone By Using My Insurance?
Not really. This is a myth propagated by insurance companies. They really want people to pay their monthly premiums, but they really want to discourage people from ever using the product they have purchased. The same report by Forbes showed that there were three simple and straightforward factors that have led to the greatest increases in insurance premiums:
- Accidents are more serious: Today’s auto accidents are usually deadlier, require more medical care, and the medical care is costlier. So, it is more expensive to get hurt than it was 20 years ago.
- Investments are way down: Insurance companies do not really make their big profits from selling insurance. Most large insurance companies actually only keep the bare minimum in their claims accounts. Most funds collected from consumers are pooled and invested in the market. Since the market is slow and interest rates are down for the past 10 years or so, profits are slow, as well. Insurance companies, unlike the rest of us, can make up for the slow economy by just charging you more for insurance.
- Weather has been bad…really bad: The fact is that the weather has been very bad for the insurance industry lately. From raging wildfires out west to floods and a constant stream of hurricanes, some large insurance companies have gone bankrupt paying property loss claims. Insurance companies manage risk by increasing premiums wherever they can. If they have already maxed out the cost of property insurance in places like Florida and the Alabama coast, they will turn to auto insurance and any other products where they can squeeze extra profits.
Getting Aggressive Representation Starts Here
For skilled and aggressive help with your auto accident claim, contact the team at Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC today, and schedule your own free case consultation with one of our lawyers.