Automobile Insurance policies vary from company to company, but there are some general items you should consider when deciding upon coverage. The “declaration” page of the policy is like a summary sheet of your insurance. Each section has a specific purpose and if you read the policy it tells you exactly what is covered and what is not for each section. A good way to think about each section or coverage is as bucket of insurance and your policy is made up of several buckets of insurance. The first is bodily injury and property damage that you cause to others. Most policies provide coverage in blocks of $25,000.00 or more. In Montana, you must carry by law $25,000.00 or more in coverage to pay for the damage you cause to someone else. However, $25,000.00 is not enough coverage considering the cost of vehicles and medical expenses and many people only carry $25,000.00 in coverage or none at all. Therefore, you must buy insurance on your policy in case someone with little or no insurance causes the accident. The two separate coverages are Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM). UM covers you if the other person has no insurance and UIM covers you when the other person runs out of insurance money to pay for your expenses due to the accident. UM and UIM are equally important and you need to ask yourself how much money do you need available for you if the other person has no insurance or is under insured. I suggest a minimum of $100,000 UM and UIM coverage and it is surprisingly affordable from most companies. An automobile accident is bad enough. But, lack of UM and UIM coverage on your policy can cause you financial trouble and heart ache that can easily be avoided.
Medical payment coverage on your automobile insurance should not be overlooked. It is my experience that most people do not know what the coverage is and why it is important. This has led to them purchase less of this coverage than they should. It is coverage that provides medical payments for your injuries in an automobile accident. Most insurance policies will provide coverage regardless as to whom is the at fault driver. This means you likely have coverage if you collide with someone else or if they collide with you. Medical payment coverage is a great benefit if you have no medical insurance or have high deductible medical insurance because your medical bills will be paid up to the policy limits for injuries due to a motor vehicle accident. Many insurance companies offer $5,000 per person per accident as the standard amount. However, you should consider the cost to raise the limits higher and decide if that is a good financial decision for you to purchase more insurance. Usually, the cost to have more coverage for medical payments is low and the addition money in coverage will be worth every penny if you ever need it due to a motor vehicle accident. Most companies will offer medical payment coverage of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000. Some will offer higher amounts so shop the companies to determine who can provide the coverage you prefer at a reasonable price. Remember, medical payment coverage is only part of your insurance policy. Review each part of your insurance policy with a representative of the insurance company to make sure you understand the coverage you are buying.