Auto Accident Insurance Explained [Video Transcript]
Good morning, I’m Marcus Michles with the law firm of Michles & Booth, and I’m here this morning to talked to you a little bit about insurance. I don’t sell insurance but I deal with it every day because our clients who have been injured in accidents are generally making claims against insurance companies. So I’ve become kind of a defacto expert if you will on insurance policies and how the insurance policy changes from individual to individual.
Most of you out there know that we’ve got a no fault state and most have you know that you got PIP coverage in the event of an accident.
But, did you know that just what you do for a living and how you work and what your benefits are really impacts what kind of insurance you should purchase for you and your family?
For example, we’ve got offices in Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Pensacola and, by and large, there are tremendous differences between what kind of insurance is appropriate given where you live and what your demographic makeup might be.
For example, the biggest example I’ve got is the military. Our military clients have benefits that are provided as a trade-off, if you will, for their service that’s provided in a very difficult job, in very difficult career. But if you’re in the military – and, when I was in the military, I never thought about this – but if you’re in the military and you get hurt in a car accident you don’t lose wages in the traditional sense.
If you work for a plumbing company, a general contractor, heck, if your lawyer, and you get into a car accident; you get hurt; you’re laid up for a while, you might lose wages right. And your PIP policy – your no fault policy – has a provision that pays 60% of lost wages up to $10,000.
Now it makes sense for the general population to have PIP coverage that includes lost wages. But, what if you’re in the military? You’re paying for a benefit, that is lost wage reimbursement, but you’re not going get lost wages. They don’t send you home from being in the Air Force for six weeks while you recuperate.
You’re not losing wages but you’re paying for lost wages premiums.
In other words, you’re required by the state to carry that insurance; USAA is happy to sell you that insurance, but they will never pay on that insurance.
Here’s another example. In the military, you get involved in an accident; you don’t necessarily need to go off base to get health care; you have health care provided to you. But you’re paying for ten thousand dollars in health care benefits out on the economy that you may never use; indeed you may never need.
I’m not here to criticize military medicine. I got pretty good care when I was in the military; in fact, I had a surgeon make a house call to my house which is pretty unusual on this day in age. But setting that aside, the good thing is you can use your PIP benefits on the economy in combination with the benefits that you use on base if you’re in the military.
But the point is that everybody that walks into an insurance agency and everybody the talks online, picks up the phone or however you purchase your insurance – you’re not the same as your next door neighbor, and your needs are not the same as your next door neighbor.
If you’re in Crestview, for example, the odds are pretty good, you got about a 60 percent demographic a being in the military or being entitled to military benefits by virtue of retirement or VA disability. If you’ve got those entitlements, make sure you tell your insurance agent about that. Make sure you have a conversation that says, “Look, do I need those benefits?”
I’ll give you the last example that always kind of rubs me the wrong way. A lot of times, we see people who have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage), and they have stacking coverage which means you can multiply the amount of coverage you have by the number of vehicles that are on the policy.
What you’ll be amazed how many times I see policies with stacking UM provisions but the household only has one vehicle. There’s nothing to stack but you’re paying for those benefits. You’re paying more money in premiums every month for benefit that you can’t use because you only have one vehicle.
So, if you are in Crestview, your needs might be different than if you’re here in Pensacola; if you’re in the military your needs might be different than if you’re civilian.
Here’s the last example share with you this morning. There’s an optional form of medical coverage known as medical payments coverage. Med Pay is usually sold in a five thousand dollar increment but I saw fifty thousand dollar policy the other day.
Medical payments coverage is kinda like gap coverage. You know, your PIP covers eighty percent of a medical bill; well, that Med Pay comes in and pays the other 20 percent that way you don’t have any copay and don’t have any out of pockets. It really is a blanket coverage.
It’s a pretty good coverage to have actually, unless of course you have a really good comprehensive medical care, you know, group health policy. If you got medical benefits, you can go to the doctor on your medical benefits you don’t need PIP to pay the 80 percent and you’d have to pay the 20 percent out of pocket; you can apply that remaining balance within traditional healthcare to your group health policy. So it’s really not a great benefit for you to buy Med Pay, medical payments coverage, if you have a good comprehensive medical health care plan.
Again an example would be if you’re in the military, you don’t need medical payments coverage really. You can buy insurance for anything, and insurance is a great thing; trust me, I see people that don’t have it every day and it creates tragedies to not have it. So, I’m not suggesting not getting any
any particular coverage. I’m just saying have a conversation and then choose wisely.
And if you’re in Crestview or Fort Walton Beach and you have questions, call our Crestview or Fort Walton Beach office. If you are here in Pensacola, call us in our Pensacola office we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation about what kind of insurance you need.
Until next week, I’m Marcus Michles with Michles and Booth. Make those insurance decisions wisely.
Michles and Booth provides aggressive and compassionate representation to individuals involved in auto accidents and other personal injury cases. Call us at 1(800) 438-3606 to speak with a Crestview auto accident attorney.