Protecting yourself on the road not only means wearing your seatbelt and ensuring the reliability of your vehicle, it also means carrying adequate insurance coverage in all the necessary areas. Most states institute minimum auto insurance requirements to better protect drivers, and driving without insurance can have serious consequences including tickets, fines, and driver’s license suspension. In Louisiana, minimum coverage amounts include:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability Coverage – $25,000
State minimums also apply to medical payments and uninsured motorist bodily injury if carried. However, a driver may also choose to reject these.
While these state minimums serve to protect motorists by ensuring that all drivers have insurance coverage, there are countless instances where these minimum amounts simply aren’t enough. To be as completely protected as possible in the event of an accident, there are some points that every driver should consider before purchasing auto insurance:
- Liability – As a general rule, you should carry enough liability coverage to protect your assets. If you are at fault in an accident and your liability limits are not sufficient to cover the injured party’s medical costs, they may come after your assets to settle the difference. If you have a high income, own a home, or hold other assets, you should consider increased levels of liability coverage.
- Comprehensive and Collision – Comprehensive and collision coverage will be required if you drive a leased vehicle or are still paying on a car loan. Comprehensive covers all forms of non-accident damage to your car such as fire and hail, whereas collision protects you in the event of a wreck involving another vehicle or striking an inanimate object. If this coverage is not required of you, you should consider some points such as the likelihood of your vehicle being stolen and its current value. Typically, your yearly costs should not equal more than 10 percent of the value of the vehicle.
- Uninsured Motorist – While Louisiana does require minimum levels of auto insurance, that does not mean that there aren’t uninsured drivers on our roads. In fact, in 2009, it was estimated that as many as 13 percent of Louisiana drivers do not have insurance. Although it may not be mandatory, uninsured motorist coverage is always wise to have. This will protect you in the event that you are involved in an accident with an at fault motorist who does not have insurance or who does not have adequate levels of insurance to cover the damages or injuries they cause. A good rule of thumb is for your uninsured motorist coverage to at least match your liability limits.
As a responsible driver, you likely have auto insurance coverage that is equal to or greater than the Louisiana state limits. Unfortunately, these limits are often lacking and leave many drivers vulnerable. In order to best protect yourself in the event of an accident or damage to your vehicle, it’s important to consider all coverage options available and which makes the most sense for you and the vehicle you drive. If you do find yourself involved in a car accident, knowing that you are sufficiently covered can give you great peace of mind.
If you have recently been in an accident and would like to have your questions answered and your case evaluated by a skilled Baton Rouge personal injury attorney, contact the office of Spencer Calahan Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Simply click here and complete our request form, or call us directly at (225) 387-2323.