We ended part one of this series by impressing upon you the importance of talking to a New York personal injury lawyer before you speak to the other driver’s insurance company. In part two, we will review the car insurance coverages that protect you if you suffer injuries in a car crash because of another driver’s negligence.

If you have sustained a severe injury, don’t think the other guy’s liability insurance coverage will protect you even if the accident is his fault. If the accident is his fault, why won’t his coverage protect you or your family? Because sadly, the required insurance limits are low. Why is that sad? If the car or truck that crashes into you has minimum liability coverage required by New York, you may suffer lifelong injuries, but you end up with nothing! That’s why it is essential that you learn the secrets of protecting yourself! But before discussing the coverages to protect you, let’s discuss the liability coverage that protects the other guy.

New York law requires every vehicle to have minimum liability policy limits of $25,000/$50,000. What does this mean? It means that if another driver crashes into you, the most his insurance company will be required to pay any person injured in the crash is $25,000. And the most they would be required to pay for all persons injured in the collision is $50,000.

Of course, people can purchase more than the minimum liability limit of $25,000 (and I strongly recommend that my clients do so for the reasons discussed below). My twenty years representing folks hurt in car crashes have taught me one harsh but critical lesson: the worst drivers carry the least insurance! 

That’s right, the people who have had several bad accidents because they drive too fast all the time, the person who has two previous DWI’s, the nineteen year old driving his souped-up car. 

Those are the folks who cause most accidents. And those are the folks who invariably carry the minimum limits. And sadly, no law says the worst drivers should have to purchase more insurance to protect the rest of us.

So, if a drunk driver with minimum liability insurance smashes into your car while driving with your spouse and two kids, and all four of you receive horrible injuries, the absolute maximum the drunk’s insurance company would have to pay your entire family is $50,000. So you can’t go back to work, you have monstrous medical expenses for your whole family, and all they have to pay is $50,000. And for those who think $50,000 sounds like a lot of money, trust me; $50,000 is nothing when you are not working.

$50,000 is nothing when one day in the ICU can cost $18,000 (not an exaggeration – one of my clients recently received an $18,000 bill for one day!). $50,000 is nothing when you must split it among many injured persons. So if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t going to protect you, you better make sure your insurance will cover you!

Protecting Your Family – The Coverages That Protect You

Thankfully, there are insurance coverages that do protect you and your family. As I mentioned earlier, this auto insurance stuff is complicated. Still, please keep reading because now we are talking about the most important coverages.

There are two main types of coverages that protect you:

First, no-fault coverage – all New York vehicles must have this coverage. The big secret is that you can significantly increase the amount of your no-fault coverage for a low additional premium. Supplementary Underinsured Motorist’s coverage is the biggie that no one knows about! But this is the coverage everyone should have!

No-Fault Insurance in New York

New York is a no-fault law state, and no-fault insurance coverage does help to protect you and your passengers. What is “no fault” insurance? No-fault (NF) insurance in New York means that the insurance carrier for your vehicle, rather than the insurance carrier for the other vehicle, pays your medical bills or lost wages. This is true regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident – that’s why it’s called no-fault.

However, no-fault does not apply to property damage claims (that’s the damage to your vehicle) which are usually paid for by the insurance carrier for the vehicle that caused the collision (the at-fault vehicle), or, by your carrier if you carried collision coverage.

No-fault benefits include:

  • Your hospital and medical expenses.
  • Your lost wages equaling 80% up to $1000 per month for a period not exceeding three years (Note: some policies provide more than the
  • $1,000 per month minimum required by New York law).
  • All New York NF policies are required to provide total coverage of a minimum of $50,000 for medical costs and lost wages.

However, you can (and should!) purchase additional NF coverage (APIP—Additional Personal Injury Protection) to provide limits higher than $50,000. As I said before, this additional coverage is inexpensive, considering the considerable extra protection you purchase for your family.

Why You Should Consider Buying No-Fault Coverage Limits Higher Than $50,000

Like I said before, $50,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it goes fast if you are not working or receiving expensive medical treatment. We all know how outrageous medical expenses are and how quickly our regular bills add up when we cannot work.

I strongly urge my clients to consult with their insurance agent to see how much more it would cost to purchase at least $100,000 of NF coverage rather than the minimum of $50,000. Even more than $100,000 is beneficial, and the cost for the additional coverage is low.

A good insurance agent can explain that the introductory amount of coverage is expensive to purchase. But increasing the basic coverage to add additional coverage does not cost much more. Plus, it provides LOTS more protection to you.

Contact the Ziff Law Firm today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with an experienced, New York personal injury lawyer.to discuss your injury case today. Call (800) 943-3529 or email us at info@zifflaw.com. There is no cost for an initial consultation and case evaluation with a member of our experienced legal team, so call us today to get started.