At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we urge our clients to learn about auto insurance policy coverage options and terms, and to carefully consider coverage that makes the most sense for their personal scenario. Far too often, we deal with clients who have been involved in serious motor vehicle accidents and are limited in the amount of compensation they are able to recover based on their insurance coverage.
Let’s face it – with insurance rates and the overall cost of living rising each year, we all look for ways to reduce our expenses. You have probably heard of the “name your price” automobile insurance policy that some companies offer. It sounds very enticing! Wouldn’t it be great to save money on your insurance premiums by telling the insurance company what you are willing to pay? Sure…until you or someone you love is involved in a serious accident, only to learn that there are limits on the amount of coverage to which you are entitled.
If you are buying new insurance and filling out a Coverage Selection Form or have received one in the mail at the time of insurance coverage renewal, it is important to take the time to read the Coverage Form and supporting documentation closely. Rather than think about the few dollars you could save by choosing a less expensive policy, think about what would happen if you or a family member were seriously injured in an accident. Would your coverage entitle you to adequate medical coverage to pay for hospital or rehabilitation bills? Would you be covered for potential damages?
In the state of New Jersey, automobile insurance policies provide three separate and distinct benefits: Liability Coverage, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage. NJ policies also limit your right to bring a claim for your injuries if you have The Verbal or Lawsuit Threshold. It is important to fully understand your benefits as well as the limitations on your policy.
The following offers a brief description of the auto insurance benefits available to New Jersey drivers. For additional information on insurance policy benefits and general terminology relating to personal injury, click on the links provided with each description.
Liability Coverage – Liability insurance protects your property in the event that a claim is made against you. In New Jersey, there is a minimum amount of liability insurance required by motorists. Did you know that if a claim that exceeds your coverage amount is brought against you, the claimant is legally allowed to go after your personal assets? Take a moment to think of what that could mean for you and your family. For this reason, we urge people to pay a little more for liability coverage in order to ensure they are covered in a worst case scenario.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage – You may have heard the term “PIP” in regard to automobile insurance policies. Personal Injury Coverage, commonly referred to as PIP, covers medical expenses, which can be extremely high, especially in cases of serious personal injury. Most people are under the impression that if someone else caused the accident, the other person’s insurance would cover the cost of medical bills. Unfortunately, this is not correct. In the state of New Jersey, YOUR insurance covers your medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident (this is part of New Jersey’s no-fault system). Since this is the case, it is important that motorists do not simply choose the lowest possible coverage. In addition, you can also purchase income continuation benefits to compensate you while you are out of work. There are many options available and you should choose the best coverage based upon your income and expenses. New Jersey State Temporary Disability will only pay you for 26 weeks and will only pay up to a maximum amount depending on the year of the injury.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – What happens if you are involved in an accident and the other driver is uninsured or does not have adequate insurance (commonly referred to as being “underinsured”)? The Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist coverage protects motorists in the event of an accident with a person who does not carry adequate insurance. By law, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist coverage. Most insurance companies will simply add this to a policy regardless of whether or not the amount is sufficient for your needs. It is strongly recommended that motorists purchase more than the minimum coverage. You should always make sure that if you purchase higher limits of liability coverage that you are provided with uninsured/underinsured coverage that equal those limits.
Verbal or Lawsuit Threshold – One of the most important insurance options to be aware of is called the Verbal or Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold option. Choosing this type of coverage limits your ability to bring suit for injuries sustained an auto accident. In order to maintain your full rights to sue in the case of an accident, you need to choose the Zero Threshold option. When selecting automobile coverage, the Verbal Threshold is less expensive. For this reason, many people buy it without considering other options or the ramifications of not being able to bring suit for serious injuries.
Don’t wait until you are involved in an accident to consider your insurance policy coverage! We suggest to our clients that they review their policy IMMEDIATELY, and then check to make sure their coverage is adequate with every renewal.
There are other ways that you can save on your policy, rather than reducing your coverage. One such way is to opt for a higher deductible on your collision coverage. (although be forewarned that a higher deductible means you will pay more out-of-pocket for an accident to cover the higher deductible before your insurance kicks in.) However, be aware that if an accident is your fault and you use your collision coverage, you will likely be surcharged when your insurance company pays a claim for your vehicle damage on your behalf. As such, it may make sense to take a higher deductible and not submit “smaller” claims.
It is also a good idea to consider taking a Defensive Driving or Driver Safety Course, many of which are now offered online for a nominal fee. Most insurance companies offer substantial multi-year discounts to their customers who take these type of refresher courses. In addition to saving you money, the courses teach evidence-based strategies to help keep you safe behind the wheel.
We understand that you may have questions as you consider or reconsider your automobile insurance policy coverage. Our team of personal injury attorneys offers are here to help and will answer any questions you might have as you review your policy coverage.
Whether you are looking for advice on your automobile insurance coverage or need assistance with an auto accident case, we are here to help. With more than 75 years of combined experience, the personal injury lawyers at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo have handled thousands of New Jersey auto accident cases and have a proven track record of success. Our attorneys offer free consultations. In fact, will not be obligated to pay any of our legal expenses unless we are able to make a recovery on your behalf.
The Personal Injury Department at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo is led by Barry D. Cohen, who is one of the founding partners of the law firm. Barry is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Civil Trial Attorney (2001 to present), which is the highest specialty certification available to New Jersey civil trial attorneys. Along with fellow founding partner, Susan Petro, and team members, Richard W. Gaeckle and Mike Veneziani, the firm’s personal injury attorneys have a track record for successfully handling thousands of personal injury cases for clients throughout southern New Jersey.
In addition to automobile, truck, and motorcycle accidents, our attorneys have dealt with a variety of serious personal injury claims. Whether your injury resulted from a slip and fall accident or a construction site accident, we can assist. Our firm has also successfully handled many claims against public entities, wrongful death claims, traumatic brain injuries, maritime personal injury and boating accident cases, premises liability claims, pedestrian injuries, dog bite injuries, as well as many other types of personal injury cases.
We know you have choices with your legal representation for your serious personal injury. Select Excellence! In litigation, you don’t get a second chance.
You may have legal recourse if you or someone you love was injured in a car accident. The team of experienced personal injury attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo are here to assist. We can review your case free of charge, and help you to determine if you have a viable case. With decades of combined experience, the attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo will handle your claim with the focus, dedication, and respect that you should expect from your legal counsel.
For your convenience, we have offices in Northfield, Cherry Hill, Hamilton, and Cape May Court House. You can contact any of our offices Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM to schedule a convenient appointment. In many cases when clients are unable to come to our offices, our attorneys will come to you to discuss your case. To get started and receive your free consultation, please call us today at (888) 675-7607 to speak with a member of our team or e-mail us at email@example.com
You can also contact our personal injury attorneys directly. You can find Barry Cohen on Google+ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan Petro can also be found on Google+ or reached at email@example.com. Rich Gaeckle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Mike Veneziani can be reached at email@example.com