According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two million people were injured in passenger vehicle accidents in 2014. Any traffic accident can be unsettling, and those involved may suffer minor injuries or serious ones. Because you may face repair bills and unexpected medical expenses, it’s important that you carry enough insurance coverage to pay for them, as well as the required amount set by your state laws.
What Minimum Insurance Coverage Is Required?
There are three main types of insurance coverage: liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. It’s important to understand each type and what it covers.
Liability coverage is required by law to protect other drivers after you’ve caused an accident. Louisiana state law has the following minimum liability coverage requirements for drivers:
- $15,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of a single person
- $25,000 in insurance coverage for property damage, including damage to vehicles
- $30,000 in insurance coverage for the injury or death of multiple people in a single auto accident
Louisiana law also requires car insurance companies to include uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage with any new policy that is issued in the state, unless the driver decides to waive the coverage in writing. However, some drivers choose to purchase UIM economic-only coverage that does not allow pain and suffering damages. UIM property damage coverage compensates you for repairs to your vehicle, minus a $250 deductible and up to $25,000 or the actual cash value of your vehicle.
Collision coverage pays to repair your vehicle if it’s determined that you’re at fault for the accident. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, storms, or other incidents that are not related to a collision. Collision and comprehensive coverage are not legally required by state law, but they’re almost always required by your lender if you used an auto loan to purchase your vehicle. However, even people who pay upfront for their vehicles often choose collision and comprehensive coverage to provide added protection.
Should I Purchase More than the Minimum Amount of Coverage?
Many drivers opt to purchase policies that provide higher coverage limits because a serious accident can easily create expenses that exceed the minimum state required liability coverage limits. When this happens, at-fault drivers who own property, have investments, or have other types of assets can be found liable for damages beyond what their insurance company is willing to pay. Without adequate insurance coverage, they may have to pay a significant amount that can negatively impact their investments and assets.
If you’re worried about protecting your assets but want to avoid paying unnecessary premiums, comparison shopping is helpful. Insurance carriers can vary widely in their cost for policies. Many also offer discounts to help you save money such as a price break for purchasing your homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance from the same carrier.
Louisiana Is a Fault State
For insurance purposes, Louisiana is a considered a fault state. This means the at-fault driver is responsible for any damages incurred as a result. If you’re injured in an accident caused by another driver, your expenses will be paid by filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company or by filing a personal injury lawsuit. You won’t need to go through your own insurance carrier unless you were hit by an uninsured driver and need to use your UIM coverage.
Sometimes, determining fault is difficult because both parties were partially responsible for the accident. For example, both drivers may have been speeding or one driver ran a red right and the other failed to yield. However, the driver who is determined to be 51 percent at fault is the one who has to pay for the associated damages.
We Can Help
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and are struggling to get your claim paid, you may need to enlist the services of a qualified car accident attorney. The team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents get compensated for their auto-related accident claims. Complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.