Insurance Changes – How to Protect Yourself
With the drastic reduction in accident benefits as of June 1 this year, there has been a lot of talk that lawsuits may be coming against brokers and insurance agents who have not properly explained coverages to their clients and the ability to protect oneself by buying additional insurance. Although this information is sometimes contained within the reams of paperwork that people may get with their insurance policy, most people do not read it and if they do they generally do not understand it.
This is a very short article to tell you about some of the additional insurances that you should be considering and calling your insurance agent or broker to find out about and the cost of same. What additional insurances people may want to consider will depend on their own circumstances. Your policy changes on its renewal date after June 1, 2016. So some may be under the new reduced amounts of coverage and some still under the old until their policy renews.
First and foremost, I think that almost everyone should pay for the increase in the medical and rehabilitation benefits. Even before the most recent changes, I purchased the medical rehabilitation benefits coverage that allowed me, in a non-catastrophic injury case, to have entitlement to up to $1,000,000.00. If I have learned nothing else from doing personal injury litigation for over 30 years, it is that the cost of rehabilitation is very expensive and the puny amounts that are now available to non-catastrophically injured people will be used up very quickly even in non-serious injuries, let alone serious ones.
With the recent changes, the CAT benefits for attendant care and medical rehabilitation combination have been reduced from a combined $2 million to only $1 million. One has to consider again looking at increasing that amount by buying the optional benefits. Using myself as an example, the cost to increase the medical and rehabilitation and attendant care benefits back to the $2 million and to keep the $1 million medical rehabilitation if I am not CAT is now only $34.00, total per year.
One can also buy increased income replacement benefits moving the $400.00 per week up to $1,000.00 per week. I have not purchased those benefits myself because I have a work disability plan which provides for income replacement. Again, people need to look at the situation for themselves and look at what other benefits they have available. Most people will have a semi-decent income replacement through work with the average long-term disability being about 66⅔ of one’s income, but will have very limited medical and rehabilitation and attendant care benefits. If I had bought the bump up from $400 to $1,000, it would cost me $213.00 per year.
I did not purchase the housekeeping and homemaking benefit coverage for non-CAT injuries, but had I done so, the cost to me would have been $42.00 annually and if injured would provide up to $100 per week for housekeeping and homemaking.
Another benefit that I have taken is the one that reduces the deductible in the event that I am injured and have a tort claim. The cost to reduce my deductible to $20,000 from approximately $37,000 costs me $30.00 per year on one vehicle, and $19.00 on another, and $4.00 on my third. Each vehicle you own must be insured separately for this benefit which makes no sense at all.
The benefits to reduce the deductible is questionable, given the fact it is not reduced to zero, but everyone should be buying the CAT and non-CAT medical rehabilitation, attendant care benefits in my opinion.
Again, I urge everyone to speak to their insurance broker or agent and get proper pricing for those coverages, and to purchase those that you think are necessary to best protect yourself and your family in the event that you or a family member covered by your auto policy are involved in an accident and injured, whether catastrophically or not.