After a serious auto accident, paying your medical bills and making ends meet can be challenging. You need auto insurance benefits to cover everything from your hospital bill to your mortgage payment. Find out how much in auto insurance benefits you are entitled to, and how your policy limits can affect your claims.
First Party No-Fault Benefits Pay for Medical Expenses and Costs
Michigan has the most extensive auto insurance law in the country. The law requires Michigan drivers to carry no-fault insurance for any vehicle that is operated on a public road. After an auto accident, Michigan residents can file a claim for auto insurance benefits with their own no-fault insurance carrier. The law entitles injured motorists to no-fault auto insurance benefits for:
- All medical expenses reasonably necessary because of the auto accident
- 85% of actual lost wages for up to 3 years
- $20.00 per day in actual replacement costs for up to 3 years
No-fault insurance benefits for medical expenses is broad enough to cover any medically necessary costs, from doctors and hospital bills, to ongoing rehabilitative therapy and accessibility equipment. This obligation to pay medical insurance benefits is also ongoing. In the most serious auto accident cases, medical expense benefits can continue for years, even a lifetime.
Your claim for no-fault auto insurance benefits for wage loss and replacement costs benefits ends after 3 years. But in some cases, there are other auto insurance benefits that can cover those ongoing damages, as well as non-economic damages.
Third Party Liability Insurance Coverage
When an auto accident results in death, disfigurement, or a serious impairment of bodily function, the injured motorist is allowed to sue the at-fault driver for damages beyond their no-fault benefits. In most cases, though, it isn’t the driver who pays the bill. It is the driver’s liability insurance provider. Michigan’s mandatory insurance laws include a small amount of liability coverage that applies to Third Party lawsuits. However, the minimum policy limits on this mandatory coverage is $20,000 per person or $40,000 per incident. Unless the person who hit you chose to purchase additional liability coverage, your ongoing disability and non-economic needs will quickly run up against those auto insurance benefit caps.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you want to ensure your ongoing needs are met, you may choose to buy additional uninsured and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This voluntary insurance policy is designed to fill the gaps when liability insurance benefits are not available, or not sufficient to cover your damages. It applies in hit-and-run cases, when a person is driving illegally with no insurance coverage, or when your disability and non-economic damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s coverage.
UIM coverage is voluntary. It is also limited. Each policy comes with a cap, usually described per person and per incident. For example, you might carry a UIM policy that will pay you $100,000 for damages not recovered from a Third Party at-fault driver, but where there are passengers involved will pay up to $250,000. It is up to drivers to decide whether they need a UIM policy, and how much coverage they want access to. No matter how severely a person is injured in an auto accident, your UIM benefits will be capped according to the terms of the policy. Michigan motorists should consider their family’s needs and how they would be met if they were disabled. They will have to balance the insurance benefits cap with the monthly or annual premiums to find the balance that works for them.
How much you can get in auto insurance benefits after an auto accident depends on the severity of your injuries and the insurance policies involved. While Michigan No-Fault insurance is designed to make sure your medical expenses are covered, it won’t always pay for everything you need after a crash. If you have been seriously injured, it is up to you and your auto accident attorney to uncover other policies that may cover the damages.