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Phil Hof - Tips for Auto Insurance

Our speaker was local attorney Phil Hof who gave us some practical tips regarding car insurance. Not all insurance policies are created equal. A qualified agent can help you navigate through the available products. The television ads offering low, low, prices can be tempting but those policies are often bare bones and could leave customers without protection under certain circumstances.

The term “full coverage” can mean the policy fully covers the minimum required coverage. If a damaged car is deemed to be “totaled”, the insurance company will pay you for the value of the vehicle based on a combination of wholesale and retail value. This estimated value may be less than you owe on the car. Drivers can protect themselves from this shortfall by purchasing relatively inexpensive gap insurance.

All Pennsylvania drivers are required to have at least $5,000 of medical insurance with their car policy. This money is used before any other coverage such as Medicare or personal health insurance. Trouble can start when the $5,000 runs out and payment shifts to other coverage. Drivers can purchase additional medical coverage at rates that are often lower than traditional health plans and also have no co-pays or deductibles. Consumers can also choose to purchase disability insurance which can help offset the loss of income associated with an accident.

People often opt for discounted rates by opting for limited tort coverage. This waives their right to sue anybody for injuries. People often do this because they don’t envision a scenario in which they would want to sue anybody. The full tort option is inexpensive and reserves the right to decide whether to sue.

Another area of coverage that is often overlooked is uninsured and underinsured coverage. This puts your own insurance company in charge of paying for your needs if the other party cannot be identified or has insufficient or no insurance. This is a common problem because Pennsylvania drivers are only required to carry a minimum of $15,000 of coverage. $15,000 will not last long in the case of a catastrophic accident. This under insured coverage can also be “stacked” based on the number of vehicles on the policy. If each of 4 cars is insured for $250,000 that means that $1 million is available on the policy. Probably the best advice is to utilize a professional insurance agent to help guide you through the policy selection process.


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