Some of the most common questions I hear are: Do I really need Uninsured Motorist coverage? Isn’t that why I have health insurance? For me, the answer is simple. Yes, you do need it.
Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but I wouldn’t take that risk. Sure, your health insurance may cover some of the costs if you’re injured in an accident. But you’ll still have out-of-pocket expenses.
You’re driving home from work and another driver runs a red light and smashes into your car. You’re taken to the hospital by ambulance where you undergo surgery for your lacerated liver and internal bleeding. Luckily, you’re alive and will make a full recovery.
Unfortunately, you’ll be in the hospital for a week and out of work for 3 weeks while you recover from your injuries.
You finally get the police report and find out the driver that hit you didn’t have insurance. You can take them to court for damages they caused, but that will take months, if not years.
You have collision coverage on your car, so you call your insurance company for help. They cover the cost to repair your vehicle. But since you rejected Uninsured Motorist and Medical Payments coverage, they don’t pay for your medical bills.
At this point it’s already been about a month. You haven’t received a paycheck in that long and you’re struggling to make your car and house payments. You haven’t paid your cell phone, electricity or other bills.
Now you get a bill in the mail for the ambulance ride. It turns out the responding ambulance service is run by a private company (yes, that’s a real thing). That means it’s considered out-of-network for your insurance, so you’re stuck with the $2,000+ bill that is due in 20 days.
You’re finally back to work, although waiting another 2 weeks for a paycheck. Just when you think the worst of it’s over, you start to get the hospital bills from every single doctor that saw you.
You’re young and healthy, so you chose a catastrophic health plan. You only go to the doctor for your annual physical and you’re never sick, so it made sense at the time. It seemed like a good way to save some money. Unfortunately, that means your deductible is $7,500, and your care after that is only covered at 70%.
From the time of the accident until you finally get a paycheck over 6 weeks later, you’ve received over $15,000 in bills. That’s on top of your normal payments that you’ve been late paying. You’re in constant pain and need to see a chiropractor, but you just can’t afford it.
Now let me ask you, was it really worth it to save a few hundred dollars by rejecting Uninsured Motorist coverage?
My guess is: no.
Sure, this might seem unlikely. And hopefully it never happens to you. Afterall, most people don’t get that unlucky. But some do.
This is a real-life situation that happened, not a hypothetical scenario.
Personally, I’d rather hope for the best but also prepare for the worst. On my auto policy, I have $500,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage.
Let’s rewind for a minute.
If the same exact accident happened to me, the outcome would’ve been very different. After I found out that the other driver didn’t have insurance, I would file the claim on my auto policy. Instead of only paying to fix my car, my insurance company would also pay for my injuries.
The hospital bills that I get in the mail? I’d send those to the adjuster to pay.
The time I missed from work? I’d be reimbursed for those lost wages and wouldn’t struggle to pay my bills.
The chiropractic care I need so I can sit, walk, sleep and live my life? My policy would pay for it.
I’d still have to go through the physical recovery, but I would have the support I need to move on financially. It’s still an unlucky accident, but it wouldn’t destroy my life.
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