All vehicles in the state of Alabama are required to be covered by auto insurance. This law exists to protect people if they are involved in an accident, in which case the insurance policy would provide compensation for property damage, medical bills, and more. However, there are many options when it comes to choosing auto insurance, and it’s important to understand all the different types of coverage, as well as know what minimums the law requires.
Understanding Auto Insurance Basics
Most auto policies across the U.S. share the same basic components, which address the different types of damages and injuries that most commonly occur after a car crash. Typically, basic policies cover:
- Bodily injury. Bodily injury coverage provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages for those injured in an accident.
- Property damage. Property damage coverage provides compensation to repair or replace a vehicle, possessions damaged within the vehicle during the accident, and any other outside property that is affected by a crash.
Both bodily injury and property damage insurance are required by the state of Alabama, although they typically only address the damage that a driver causes to someone else, not his own vehicle repairs or physical injuries. Other additional coverages are available through insurance companies that address the driver himself. They include:
- Collision. Collision covers the driver’s own vehicle if he is involved in a crash. It could include the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Comprehensive. Comprehensive coverage provides compensation to repair or replace a vehicle that is damaged by some event other than a crash such as theft, vandalism, hail, and more.
- Uninsured/undersinsured. While insurance is mandatory, not all drivers adhere to the rules. In fact, a 2016 study reported that Alabama ranked sixth in the country for the most uninsured drivers. Purchasing uninsured/underinsured coverage would provide compensation to accident victims when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover injuries.
A vehicle accident can cause serious physical, emotional, and financial harm to those involved. Insurance exists to help everyone recover as quickly and fully as possible, so it’s important to consider all the possibilities when choosing coverage.
Policy Limits and The Cost of Injury
The state also mandates how much coverage is needed. This is usually expressed with three numbers—25/50/25. This means drivers must have:
- $25,000 bodily injury
- $50,000 maximum for one accident
- $25,000 property damage
These figures are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Alabama. While many drivers do enhance their coverage, many others simply purchase the cheapest policy. So, what happens when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the full extent of a victim’s injuries?
When Your Injuries Exceed Insurance Policy Limits
Some accident victims experience severe, complicated injuries that require a significant amount of medical care and rehabilitation. The total cost of recovery may well exceed a minimum policy amount. In those situations, victims do have some options. They can:
- Call on their own uninsured/underinsured policy
- Seek payment from an umbrella policy (if one exists)
- File a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver
Insurance is important for accident victims—both their own and the at-fault driver’s. Compensation that will play a vital role in your physical recovery and financial stability will likely come from insurance. In the best circumstances, both drivers have sufficient insurance to provide for as complete a recovery as possible. However, even in these situations, it may not be as easy as one would hope. Insurance companies are out to save money, and they may try any number of tactics to reduce their own liability.
That’s when an experienced Alabama injury attorney can help. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team is here to support victims after a crash and protect their rights when dealing with at-fault drivers and their insurers. Right after an accident, we can answer your questions, guide you through the negotiation process, and ensure that an insurance company does not take advantage of you during this stressful time. To learn more about what we do and how we may be able to help, call our Mobile office, or fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.