Good Auto Insurance Coverage in Virginia

What does it mean to have good insurance coverage in Virginia?  To answer this question, consider what expenses you hope to avoid if faced with an auto accident with injuries.   You probably want to avoid any medical expenses associated with a personal injury.  A related question is “what happens if I am injured by a negligent driver without auto insurance?”

In Virginia, by default, the liability limits that you choose match what is known as “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage that is required by Virginia law under your policy.  That means, if you only have the minimum liability policy limits in Virginia, if you are injured by an uninsured driver, then by default, the maximum you are covered by any auto insurance will be the same amount as your own minimum policy limits.

Therefore, when considering what level of coverage to buy, if at all possible, increase your own liability limits.  You can then have more confidence that you (and your family members) will be covered in the event of a personal injury caused by an uninsured driver.  Furthermore, uninsured motorist coverage will provide coverage even if you (or your family member) is injured by an uninsured driver while you are a pedestrian.

Finally, there is another type of coverage that is optional in Virginia called “medical expense” or “medical payments” coverage.  This coverage applies up to a certain limit, regardless of who is at fault, and it is automatically multiplied by the number of cars on a Virginia auto policy.

For example, if you have $5000 in medical payments coverage, and two cars on a policy, and if you and your family member are injured in an accident that is your fault (or someone else’s fault), then you and your family member is each entitled to $10,000 in medical expense coverage to assist with medical bills that are related to the accident.

There is one more important thing to consider if you are involved in an auto accident personal injury claim arising from someone else’s negligence.  It is always better to use health insurance first.  There are many reasons to do so, but the basic reason is simple.  You will most likely be entitled to more money if you use health insurance.

For example, assume you have a $1000 hospital bill.  Health insurance pays $600, writes off $300, and leaves you with a $100 co-pay.   You will be entitled to $700 in reimbursement from any auto insurance medical payments coverage you have under your own policy, plus the full $1000 from the negligent driver’s insurance company, plus other damages, like pain and suffering.   You stand to gain at least $1700 (plus pain and suffering etc.) in this scenario by using your own health insurance first.

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