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Car Accident Insurance in Alabama – How Much Do I Need?

Posted on March 6, 2015

Alabama law requires every operator of a motor vehicle to have insurance coverage on their vehicle. This applies to automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and any vehicle that can be driven legally on the public roads. Frequent questions fielded by our auto accident attorneys include “How much do I need?” or “What kind should I have?” All insurance companies offer basic or “full coverage” polices that contain liability, collision, medical pay and uninsured / underinsured coverage. However, the term “full coverage” is misleading in that it implies that “full” coverage is “adequate” coverage. The goal should be to get sufficient insurance coverage for those foreseeable events that might cripple you financially should they occur.

Liability coverage covers you for claims made by  another driver due to your negligence. Alabama law only requires minimal limits of $25,000. For real world car accidents, in which people are significantly injured and the property damage is substantial, 25,000 is not enough. The Birmingham personal injury attorneys at our firm recommend a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage.

Collision or property damage coverage pertains to property damage to the cars involved.

Medical payments coverage covers the occupants for accident-related medical bills, usually up to a limit of $1,000 to 5,000.

Uninsured or underinsured (UM) coverage is intended to protect you in those situations where the at-fault driver either has no insurance or insufficient insurance. While Alabama’s uninsured motorist law requires every policy to have at least $25,000 in UM benefits, this coverage can be rejected if a written waiver is signed by the insured. Drake Law Firm’s attorneys strongly recommends against rejecting UM coverage as it is often needed in a state where many drivers are in violation of  the mandatory insurance coverage statute. Additionally, we recommend getting the most uninsured coverage you can afford, at least $100,000 or more.

Here’s how all of this works in a typical Alabama auto accident: Joe is rear-ended by Jane in Birmingham. Joe’s car is totaled and he sustains prolonged treatment for a neck strain, including therapy and injections. Jane is clearly at fault for the accident but she only has the minimal limits of $25,000. While Jane’s insurance company has paid for the loss to Joe’s automobile, he has unpaid medical bills of $17,000 and lost wages over $5,000. Joe’s insurance policy has med-pay limits of $5000 and underinsured limits of $50,000. Based on his claimable damages, his case is clearly worth more than Jane’s limits. Joe’s injury attorney will probably advise him to demand the limits from Jane’s carrier, then make a demand for additional compensation under the UM under his policy, plus the full amount of med-pay available ($5,000).

Car accident claims are frequently under estimated as to their value. Serious injuries and surgical treatment are commonly the result of even moderate speed impacts. Always get the highest limits of insurance coverage you can to protect your self in any accident scenario, regardless of who is at fault. Our Birmingham car accident lawyers can help.