What Your Insurance Policy Declaration Page Will Tell Us
When you are in an automobile accident, why do we ask you for the Declaration Page of your automobile insurance policy?
The Declaration Page of your automobile insurance policy provides us with the details of your insurance coverage which are important in developing an approach to your accident. Information on the Declaration Page includes:
- Personal Injury Protection Coverage a.k.a. PIP
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage (coverage for three scenarios)
- Whether you waived any insurance rights about which you may not have been adequately informed.
PIP: This benefit is required for all automobile insurance policies that are delivered in Maryland. PIP is a form of no-fault insurance enabling you to receive a minimum of $2500 for medical expenses and lost wages as well as other related and permitted expenses. Some policies include $10,000 of PIP or include the minimum PIP benefit but also include a separate medical expense coverage (MedPay).
Uninsured Motorist Coverage provides you with insurance for three different situations:
- where the driver at fault has no insurance;
- where there is a phantom driver, meaning someone else was negligent but you are unable to identify that negligent driver; or
- where your claim for damages exceeds the coverage available on the negligent driver’s auto policy and your policy limits are greater, which results in your ability to obtain a greater recovery.
Most often an accident involves a driver who is “underinsured”. Underinsured motorist coverage only applies if your uninsured coverage limit is higher than the other driver’s liability. Thus, if the driver who causes the accident has a liability policy of $30,000.00 per person, you are not entitled to any uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits if your Uninsured Motorist Coverage is for $30,000.00 per person/$60,000.00 aggregate. If, however, you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage of $100,000.00 per person/$300,000.00 aggregate, you could receive up to the $70,000.00 difference from your own company for an injury to one person, and up to $240,000.00 additional insurance from your own company if there were injuries to three or more passengers in your car.
Insurance companies often try to convince their policyholders that they don’t need to purchase a lot of Uninsured Motorist Coverage. In fact, however, you can purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage equal to the limits of your liability coverage. For example, if your liability coverage is $100,000 per person/$300,000 aggregate, you may purchase $100,000/$300,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Part of the reason insurance companies promote lower limits of Uninsured Motorist Coverage is because of the increasing number of accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. When you are involved in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or phantom motorists, your insurance company must pay for damages that are not covered by the other motorist’s policy.
Because of the insurance companies’ approach, legislation has been passed that requires insurance companies to fully disclose the availability of Uninsured Motorist Coverage and the possible policy limits for this coverage. If the option available to you to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage equal to the amount you purchase of liabiilty coverage is waived, Maryland law requires that there must be “informed consent”, which means you must have signed a written waiver.
Many coverage requirements in automobile insurance policies require specific waivers if yuo wish to decline the coverage. The above are some of the more typical types of waivers that must be in writing.
It is important to understand what is covered under your car insurance policy in order to understand your options. Our Maryland Lawyer can explain your policy and discuss a plan to recover your damages. Contact our Howard County Personal Injury Attorney if you are hurt in an accident at 410-730-4404.