How much car insurance do you need?

How much car insurance do I need?  I am actually surprised at how few times I have actually been asked this question.  I don’t think that many people I know actually think about the purpose of their car insurance and about how much car insurance they actually need.  I do know that before I began representing victims of car accidents that I certainly didn’t give my car insurance coverage a second thought.  I just kept buying what I had always bought and figured that was enough or the correct kinds.  So I am going to start by discussing liability car insurance coverage in this blog, and I will discuss other parts of an auto insurance policy in future blogs.

Liability car insurance coverage is the part of your car insurance that will pay someone who you accidentally hurt if you cause an accident.  Let’s face it, accidents happen.  If you run a red light and hurt someone that certainly wasn’t your intention.  That’s why it’s called (and is) an accident, and accidents do happen.  So this coverage protects you from having to pay with your money if you accidentally hurt someone.  What happens is your car insurance carrier will pay the person that you hurt so that they are reimbursed for their medical bills, so that they are reimbursed for their lost wages because they could not work, so that they are compensated for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience of being injured, and your insurance will pay them for any other losses that they have because of this accident.

Currently in Arizona, the law is that you have a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage, but we all know that this isn’t nearly enough.  If you accidentally hurt someone their medical bills alone could far exceed $15,000, and when you are responsible for the medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potentially other damages $15,000 doesn’t do much to protect you!  I realize that how much car insurance you can buy is directly affected by what you can afford, but because of what I’ve discussed above, my recommendation is that everyone carry at the least $50,000 worth of liability coverage.  This will ensure that anyone one you accidentally hurt in a car accident at least has a shot at being fully compensated for his injuries and it will at least give you a shot at being protected from having personal liability.  Remember, if you accidentally hurt someone so severely that your liability insurance policy limit isn’t enough to completely compensate the person who is hurt, you could now be personally responsible and have to actually pay the person the difference between the insurance money available and the actual value of his claim.  Because of that, a person who makes lots of money and/or has lots of assets needs significantly more car insurance coverage in order to be protected from personal liability.  So how much liability car insurance you buy is a personal decision but, make not mistake about it, it is a decision the deserves some thought on your part.