As I enter into my twenty-second year of practice, I have begun to accept the new reality that it is more difficult, and takes longer, to settle claims in 2012 than it did in the 1990’s.
Forgetting for a moment that most insurance companies have fewer adjusters handling more Pennsylvania motorcycle accident claims, the biggest changes I have witnessed are:
- an increase in the number of insurance policies that no longer contain uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits
- the increased number of clients who no longer have any form of health insurance and
- more vehicles are now carrying only the minimum insurance limits required by law. Read Motorcycle personal injury lawyers discussion on how motorcycle accident differ from car accidents.
These issues seem to be related because prior to 1990, every motor vehicle policy was required to include uninsured and underinsured benefits, which could be used to pay for medical bills, if the injured party did not have health insurance and the responsible party did not have enough insurance to cover all of the damages caused.
However, because uninsured/underinsured coverage is no longer required, it is rejected more than ever. Unfortunately, when this rejection is coupled with an injured victim without health insurance, the medical bills become a problem, because many drivers are carrying the minimum liability coverage required on their vehicles.
As you can imagine, the combination of NO UM/UIM/Health Insurance is leading to more “insurance tragedies”, (what happens when a person with no uninsured/underinsured coverage and no health benefits is injured by someone with minimal insurance coverage in a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident.)
These “insurance tragedies” are something that I am now seeing more then ever before. Knowing the problem, the question becomes… What can be done, without spending a kings ransom to protect ourselves from being the victim of a Pennsylvania “insurance tragedy”?
There is no simple answer. However, I recommend purchasing as much uninsured/underinsured coverage as you can afford, as this offers additional coverage if you don’t have health coverage and are injured by someone who is underinsured. The second portion of this equation is a bit more difficult.
Where and how can you obtain health insurance, if you currently do not have any?
There used to be program called Adult Basic which did provide a low cost health insurance option in Pennsylvania however, its future is uncertain due to current budget cutting. The other safety net has been Medicaid however, for the same budgetary reasons it is becoming more difficult to obtain this coverage either before or after a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident.
Further adding insult to injury, if Medicaid, or some other public program, picks up the medical bills, in almost every circumstance, they will want some of their money back when the motorcycle accident claim resolves.
Purchase Enough Insurance
Given the above, the easiest and cheapest way I know, from years operating a successful Pennsylvania motorcycle accident law firm, to avoid an “insurance tragedy” is to purchase as much un/underinsurance coverage as you can afford.
This coverage can act as de facto health insurance and be used to pay medical bills, or any other losses you may incur. The other option is to obtain some amount of medical benefits on your motorcycle policy. While this won’t do much if you end up with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, it will provide a low cost safety net if your bills are in the $5,000-$10,000 range.
Finally, if you do find yourself involved in an accident and have no health insurance, immediately apply for public assistance through the hospital’s social services office as they are best prepared to help guide you through the application process.
They also know that in most cases, this is the only way they may get paid and therefore have an incentive to help you get approved.
Call me at 888-292-5352 for a free motorcycle insurance recommendation.