What Will Your Auto Insurance Pay For After a Car Crash?

Motor insurance claim form

When you have been injured in an auto accident, medical bills, unpaid household expenses due to lost wages, and even the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle can add up quickly. Find out what your auto insurance benefits will pay for after a car crash, and whether you have enough insurance to be prepared for the worst.

Connecticut drivers are responsible for any harm or damage they cause behind the wheel. If that includes a serious injury accident, the medical bills, property damage, and other expenses can quickly add up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most drivers don’t have that kind of money sitting in a savings account. So how do you get your expenses covered if you are injured in an auto accident? That’s where auto insurance benefits come in.

What Auto Insurance Benefits Cover

Connecticut personal injury lawsuits involve a wide variety of costs and other damages -- both economic and non-economic. Economic damages generally come with a bill. After an auto accident they often include:

  • Doctors and hospital bills
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment
  • Lost wages
  • Mechanic’s costs to repair your vehicle

Non-economic damages address the injury itself and its impact on your future. They can be harder to measure, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional harm
  • Aggravation of existing injuries
  • Disability (future lost wages)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium (companionship for your spouse and family)

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

Connecticut auto insurance is designed to cover the costs of a personal injury lawsuit resulting from an auto accident. There are several different types of auto insurance coverage. Connecticut law makes some auto insurance mandatory, but as you will see, the state minimums often aren’t enough. If you can afford it, you may want to opt for higher benefit caps, or optional insurance policies, to make up the difference.

Mandatory Liability Insurance

Connecticut’s mandatory auto insurance requirements start with liability coverage. Liability insurance pays the bill when your actions behind the wheel cause personal injury to somebody else, but only up to your policy limits. According to the state auto insurance requirements, Connecticut drivers must maintain at least $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident in liability insurance. However, it is generally a good idea to choose a higher policy limit if you can afford to do so.

For comparison purposes, one day of inpatient treatment in a Connecticut for-profit hospital costs an average of $2,636. That means the auto insurance claim for a hospital bill alone (without any diagnostic tests, treatments, or medications) will exhaust the mandatory minimum liability insurance coverage in just 10 days. Serious auto accidents can involve lengthy hospital stays and years of on-going medical treatments. To avoid that money coming out of your own pocket, it is a good idea to opt for more than the minimum insurance coverage.

Mandatory Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Once the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is exhausted, injured motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and passengers, can turn to their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This auto insurance policy covers your injuries if:

  • The driver who hit you was uninsured
  • You were injured in a hit-and-run accident
  • The driver’s insurance caps were lower than your own

Unlike many other states, Connecticut’s mandatory insurance policies include coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. This amount usually mirrors your liability coverage, so the mandatory minimum coverage is $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident.

Mandatory Property Damage Liability Insurance

The insurance payout for car accidents isn’t limited to personal injury claims. Serious auto accidents can cause damage to vehicles, roadways, homes, and personal property items (like the laptop sitting in the back seat). If you are at fault for a car crash, you will be responsible to pay for the repairs to that property. This is where the property damage portion of your mandatory auto insurance comes into play. With a minimum coverage of $10,000 per accident, this insurance policy will usually cover repairs to most vehicles, but may fall short when an auto accident causes other substantial property damage.

Optional Personal Injury Protection Insurance

Connecticut uses a fault-based system when it comes to insurance payouts after auto accidents. Some other states require their drivers to maintain “personal injury protection” insurance (PIP). These policies cover the policyholders themselves, and sometimes their family, for auto injuries, no matter who is at fault. In Connecticut, PIP insurance is optional. It can supplement your health insurance and the insurance payouts you receive from the at-fault driver’s liability policy to cover your more serious personal injuries.

Optional Underinsured Motorist Conversion Coverage

Remember that many injuries caused by auto accidents cost more than the mandatory minimum liability insurance will pay. If you have chosen to purchase underinsured motorist conversion coverage, your own insurance company will step in to help make up the difference. Unlike the mandatory uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage described above, the amount the at-fault driver’s liability insurance pays doesn’t affect the benefits you are entitled to receive under your uninsured motorist conversion coverage. Instead, this policy covers any unpaid balance after the at-fault driver’s insurance is used up.

Optional Collision Coverage

Many auto insurance providers offer collision coverage. If you lease or have financed your vehicle, you may be required to maintain this coverage by your lender, but it is not mandatory under state law. Collision coverage pays for property damage caused to your vehicle by a car crash. It pays for repairs or replacement up to policy limits.

Optional Comprehensive Coverage

In addition to collision coverage, many auto insurance providers offer comprehensive policies to cover damage to your vehicle not caused by an auto accident. This policy is designed to cover things like:

  • Falling trees
  • Storm damage
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is optional under state law. However, your lender may require that you maintain it until your car loan is paid off.

With such a variety of optional and mandatory coverage options available, it can be difficult to know what your auto insurance will pay after a car crash, and what you can recover from the at-fault driver. At The Lebedevitch Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys can help you pay your bills after a car crash. We can help you protect your insurance claims, and argue against allegations of fault, so you receive all the auto insurance benefits you deserve. Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.