When you purchase automobile insurance, you have a choice that includes a whole variety of different coverages. In North Carolina, the minimum amount of insurance coverage needed to legally operate a private motor vehicle on public roads consists of basic liability insurance. The basic minimum coverage amounts are:
- Bodily injury liability – $30K per person per accident and $60K for all persons per accident
- Property damage liability – $25K per accident
North Carolina law also requires every driver be covered by uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage in the same minimum amounts as the above stated bodily injury liability coverages. You’re also required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage liability coverage in the same amount as the above-stated property damage liability coverage.
Minimum is Likely Not Enough
Anyone who’s ever been involved in a motor vehicle accident or knows someone who has will realize that these minimum liability coverage amounts are significantly lower than the amounts you need when involved in a car crash that you cause. Liability suits against drivers who cause a serious accident can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Any amount above what your insurance covers is your responsibility.
If you’re going to “splurge” on any part of your car insurance, the liability protection is the best place to start since this protection could mean the most to you in terms of dollars and cents. Financial experts recommend that drivers carry several times the minimum amounts of liability coverage required by the state, especially if they have any significant number of assets to protect from liability lawsuits.
Many also recommend adding a high dollar umbrella policy to your coverage. This will also protect you from liability lawsuits in areas other than driving, such as homeowners coverage.
More Coverage Car Insurance
More coverage car insurance could conceivably consist of:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist
- Medical payments
- Towing and labor cost coverage
- Rental reimbursement coverage
- Coverage for rented vehicles
Beyond those coverages required by state law, all the above listed coverages are optional and may not be needed. Medical payments coverage, for example, may be redundant if you already have a reliable medical insurance program through your employment or otherwise.
If you’re driving a vehicle that’s an older model and not too valuable, carrying collision and comprehensive coverage may not be worth the money spent. You could also consider raising your deductible to a higher limit to save premium dollars.