We've been talking about why Maryland drivers should seriously consider upping their auto liability insurance to as much as their budgets can afford. (See Parts 1 and 2 of my series on "Buying Auto Insurance in Maryland," below.) People who have had the misfortune of being injured in a Maryland car accident are always shocked and amazed at how quickly their medical bills can pile up -- and how minimum liability coverage maxes out just as fast. Here are four more types of auto insurance coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Our clients are hard-working people who often don't have a lot of extra money to cover their medical bills and lost wages if they're hurt in a Maryland car crash. Personal Injury Protection or "PIP" is a no-fault coverage that serves like an "emergency fuel tank" for relatively fast payment of medical expenses and wage loss related to an accident. Under Maryland law, drivers are not required to carry PIP insurance, but it's a coverage you will want to purchase. If you're in an accident -- say that nice little old lady from my earlier articles rear-ends you on her way to church -- you can use your own PIP to pay your bills quickly. It's no-fault coverage, so even if the other driver's insurance company starts haggling with, "We're not sure if it's our client's fault...," you won't have to wait. Your own PIP will cover that nagging emergency room bill and a couple weeks of lost wages while the insurance companies investigate. It's also cheap--figure $30-$100/year.
Medical Payments Coverage
Med-Pay is a supplemental coverage, similar to PIP, that only pays medical bills (not lost wages), in the event you are injured or killed in a Maryland car crash. Again, it is inexpensive, and an excellent way to ensure payment of your medical expenses, quickly, after your accident claim.
Rental Reimbursement Coverage
If that little old lady damages your car and you're left without wheels, how are you going to get around? Rental insurance costs peanuts and provides you with transportation if you're in an accident and the other driver's insurance company investigates for liability. An investigation can take months and meanwhile, you're off the road and going nowhere fast. Get your own no-fault rental coverage and make sure it pays enough. Some rental only pays $10 or $20 a day toward renting a car in Maryland. That won't buy you much. It costs about $40 to $50 a day to rent a mid-sized car from a major car rental agency.
Last but not least, as you get older and accumulate more assets, there's an option called Umbrella Coverage. This type of coverage provides a "liability blanket," which sits above your other coverages and pays only in the rare event that your underlying coverage is used up. Take a close look at the value of your home, versus the amount of liability coverage you currently carry. If you are driving around with $100,000 of liability coverage and you own a $300,000 house, guess what you are going to lose if you accidentally kill or seriously injure someone, and your liability coverage exhausts? Umbrella Coverage costs about $100-$200 a year and protects your assets in the event of a catastrophic Maryland motor vehicle accident where you're found liable.
Our law firm is dedicated to fighting for clients who have the misfortune of being in a car, truck or SUV accident in Maryland. Auto insurance sounds kind of boring and people figure, "Why spend money on something I probably won't use?" Our advice is "Get as much auto insurance as you can afford." Trust me, if you're in an accident in Maryland, you'll be glad you did.
Related Web Resources
Maryland Insurance Administration: