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Kelly & West News

Clearing Up Confusion About Auto Insurance

April 19, 2016

Auto insurance is required in North Carolina, but are you aware of the minimum requirements? What your options are or how it works?

Choosing auto insurance — or even knowing what to choose! — is a difficult process, but at Kelly and West we want to make it easy for you. We’ve seen what happens to good people who think they have coverage, but find out after a car accident they don’t have everything they need. Here is what you should know:

Minimum Insurance
In North Carolina there are a few types of auto insurance required for everyone who owns a car:

● Minimum of $30,000 injury liability per person per accident

● Minimum of $60,000 injury liability total per accident

● Minimum of $25,000 property damage per accident

● Uninsured motorist coverage of $30,000

North Carolina does not require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage, but if you are paying off a loan or leasing your car, the finance company or bank WILL require collision and comprehensive coverage.

Photo credit: orangesky3 via VisualHunt / CC BY

Photo credit: orangesky3 via VisualHunt / CC BY

How Insurance Works
While it is mandatory to buy liability coverage in North Carolina, extra coverage is also available. A lot of people skip the extra coverage to save money, even though for a few extra dollars the extra coverage could help pay for medical bills, pain and suffering, repairs to the vehicle, rental cars, and loss of income due to the accident.

Extra coverage could include:
● Comprehensive Coverage – No collision. Anything that could happen to your car that is not directly involved in a collision with another moving vehicle. Some examples are a broken windshield or vandalism.

● Uninsured or Underinsured Coverage – The other person involved in the accident does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the bills associated with the accident or the total value of your claim. North Carolina’s minimum requirement is often not enough to cover all expenses after an accident.

● Medical Payments Coverage – Medical payments coverage is not required, but should be considered. This coverage provides reimbursement to you for medical expenses following an accident no matter who is at fault. The only requirement is that you personally have or you are in a car of a person who has medical payments coverage. This coverage is normally reasonably priced and can prove beneficial because it provides money while recovering from an accident.

How Much to Buy
It is easy to choose the minimum coverage amounts required by law, but those amounts are not recommended. At Kelly and West we recommend:

● $1 million per person combined uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

● At least $50,000 per person injury liability

● $100,000 per accident liability

● $25,000 medical coverage (It is better to go higher if you can afford because medical bills tend to cost much more than this.)

● Add collision with a $500 deductible

● Comprehensive with a $0 deductible

We have found that once you buy some insurance, you can normally increase the amount or your coverage to those shown above for a very little increase in your premiums. These recommended amounts are higher than the minimum law in North Carolina, but we feel that the extra protection is definitely worth the cost. If you have questions about your insurance after an accident or would like to speak with an experienced attorney, contact  Kelly and West today.

If you don’t take action to protect yourself and your family, then you are putting yourself and your family at great risk of being injured or killed by someone who has no insurance or by someone without adequate insurance to fully compensate you for your injury, your medical bills and your loss of income.

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