PIP or personal injury protection benefits are required for all Delaware auto insurance policies. The minimum amount required is $15,000/$30,000. The $15,000 limit applies per person. The $30,000 limit applies per accident. Read more about minimum PIP limits here.
Oftentimes, electing minimum PIP limits can lead to financial difficulties, especially when you’re seriously injured in a car accident. This article discusses a minimum limits PIP policy using a serious car accident scenario.
Major Injuries in a DE Auto Accident, One Claimant
Your vehicle was struck at a busy intersection in Dover, Delaware. The at-fault driver ran a red light at high speed and crashed into your driver’s side, causing a severe impact. Your injuries are major and include head trauma, spinal injuries and several fractured bones. You have multiple surgeries and a long road to recovery. The medical bills exceed $100,000, and you’re out of work for several months.
Since another driver caused the accident, you would file a car accident lawsuit to obtain financial recovery for your medical bills and lost wages which are not covered by your PIP policy, in addition to pain and suffering. However, there is no guarantee of a recovery. The other driver may have a minimum limits liability policy, or might be uninsured altogether. Also, it often takes time to obtain financial recovery in major auto accident cases in Delaware. Some cases may take years to resolve. During that time, you’re left picking up the pieces.
Because you have a minimum limits PIP policy ($15,000/$30,000), only $15,000 of the medical bills is covered. The emergency room bills alone exceed $10,000. After the $15,000 per person limit is exhausted, you’ll have to make a claim for the rest of the medical bills via your private health insurance company. You will have to pay any out of pocket costs like coinsurance or copays which can be quite high. It’s not uncommon for someone to have to pay several thousand dollars for coinsurance/copays.
You are out of work and do not have any short term disability insurance. After exhausting your sick days and vacation days, you go without a paycheck for months. You struggle to pay bills and keep your family afloat.
Related: Reserving PIP for Lost Wages
Now imagine what the scenario would be if a family member was in the car with you and also seriously injured. A minimum limit PIP policy with a maximum of $30,000 per accident would be financially devastating.
This scenario is actually fairly common and underscores the reasons for selecting higher PIP limits. You can elect higher PIP limits, such as $50,000 or $100,000. Many Delaware residents make the mistake of opting for minimum PIP coverage without thinking through their own personal and financial situations.
In addition, many individuals employ a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to auto insurance coverage. Life circumstances often change. For instance, if you lose your job, lose health insurance or lose other insurance benefits, you may want to call your agent and discuss higher limits. Be sure to ask about underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. This is one of the most important types of coverage you can have. Unfortunately, it’s optional. Read more about UIM/UM coverage in Delaware.
AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER IN DELAWARE: (302) 658-1717
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