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Is Minimum Auto Insurance Enough Coverage?

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on May 7, 2019

Inexpensive auto insurance gives you just enough coverage drive legally in the state of Arizona. But those minimums may be far too low if you are involved in an accident with injuries.

Arizona’s mandatory level of coverage is:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability for one person
  • $30,000 for two or more people
  • $10,000 in property damage

“Liability” means this insurance policy will go toward the other person if you are judged to be at fault for an accident. It will not cover you. That’s assuming quite a financial risk.

The purpose of insurance is to protect you and your passengers should an accident occur. It pays your related expenses, depending on your policy, including rental cars and vehicle repairs. It can also cover you when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.

You Could Be Responsible to Pay in the Event of an Accident

Although it varies, the average cost for a three-day hospital stay in the United States is $30,000—twice the amount you would have if you purchased the minimum liability coverage. You might be responsible for paying the rest from your own pocket, and that could be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case with serious injury.

Is Arizona a No-Fault State?

Arizona is an “at-fault” state. In Arizona, you must file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, rather than your own insurance company after an accident. This can become a complicated issue when the at-fault driver has only minimum liability coverage or none at all.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that approximately 12% of drivers in Arizona do not have valid auto insurance—one in every eight drivers. Since these drivers typically have limited resources and few assets, filing a personal injury claim may not solve the problem. That’s when your own auto insurance makes all the difference.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy, your insurance company will pay for the damages up to the limits of your policy. It is well worth the investment, and we encourage you to buy as much UM/UIM as you can comfortably afford. It can prove dangerous to be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Proving Negligence in Arizona

To file a successful claim, you need proof that the other driver was responsible for the collision. “Negligence” is defined as a failure to use reasonable care; the level of care that would be expected from the average person in similar circumstances.

Examples of negligence include driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, failing to follow the rules of the road, speeding, driving recklessly, or driving distracted. When Breyer Law Offices, P.C., takes a case, we hunt for eyewitness statements, video evidence, cell phone records, drug or alcohol test results, and police reports to prove fault successfully.

In Arizona, there is also a standard called “comparative negligence,” which comes into accidents with shared fault. If you were driving at dusk without your vehicle’s headlights on, and another car runs a red light, T-boning you, you may be considered partially responsible. If a jury decides that your behavior was 30% responsible for the accident, the amount they award you for damages will be reduced by 30%. A good attorney knows how to keep the insurance company from claiming your comparative negligence means they don’t have to pay.

Why You Need a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

The Husband and Wife Law Team specializes in personal injury cases, including collisions involving uninsured and underinsured motorists. Our caring, committed Phoenix car accident lawyers will seek the maximum compensation for you and your family, and we have a knack for unearthing insurance policies. Mark Breyer is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death law, one of only about 1% of Arizona lawyers with this credential.

Contact us immediately for a complete, no-obligation evaluation of your case. We work on a contingency basis and only get paid when your case is settled.

Posted in: Auto Insurance

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