Petrillo: Is there insurance that a person can buy that protects them and their family if they’re involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance or just doesn’t have enough insurance to cover their case?
Petrillo: What is that?
Goldberg: There are two pet peeves I have, if we’re discussing that. That’s one of them and the other one is related to PIP, but I want to talk about that afterwards. But it’s called uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Everybody who gets insurance in New Jersey has to get some type, a regular insurance policy of uninsured, underinsured coverage. It is buried in your coverage booklet. It’s a small section on your declarations page, but it’s probably the most important thing that you do when you buy insurance.
Basically that should be your major decision, major focus when you get insurance, because it protects you, it protects your family. It protects the people in your car with you. If you’re driving down the road and you get hit by somebody who’s a uninsured drunk who just wrecks your life, there’s not going to be any way to get any money out of them. If they have no insurance, they probably don’t have much by way of personal assets. Even if they did, they could file bankruptcy and the whole thing goes away.
So how do you protect yourself? If you get uninsured motorist coverage of 100,000, 250,000, however much you get, then that’s money that can be applied to this claim. If the person only has 15,000 in coverage, all you can get is 15. You could break every bone in your body. You can still get $15,000. There’s nothing you can do about that unless you get underinsured motorist coverage and that’s coverage you can buy that protects you in that situation. You can get up to whatever you buy coverage wise and it’s not that expensive.
I have myself half a million in UIM coverage. It costs me $87 twice a year. Insurance companies, when they sell you the policies, aren’t going to discuss that with you for good reason, because they don’t want to bear the burden on that.
Second thing, PIP, make sure you don’t buy the limited PIP. Why is that a bad thing? Because the PIP is what gives you medical coverage for your car accidents. A lot of people are convinced to buy the lower amounts because it’s cheaper. The truth is it’s not that much cheaper. We’ve actually done comparisons in the office, called some companies and it might be 10, $15 in some situations, maybe 20, 25 in others. It’s not worth the savings you’re giving up.
If you don’t have decent medical coverage personal after that 15,000 is used, the rest of the medical bills you’ll have to bear personally or if Medicare or Medicaid pick it up, there are federal liens on it. There are other insurance policies that create liens. All it’ll do is just reduce what you ultimately get out of a claim. So that’s another one of my pet peeves too.
Petrillo: I understand.
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