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A Guide to Auto Insurance Coverage in Louisiana

Most people are only concerned about two things when shopping for auto insurance. “Do I have enough to satisfy the legal requirement?” and “am I getting the best rate possible?” But focusing solely on those two concerns means that they aren’t always paying attention to what they’re actually paying for (or not paying for).

Everyone likes to save money on their car insurance, including us, but sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more to get a little extra protection, even if you can get away with paying only the bare minimum of coverage.

Too many times, we’ve had clients get into an accident and think their insurance will take care of their expenses, only to find out that the “great” insurance they thought they had doesn’t actually cover much at all.

To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, we’re going to walk through the six types of auto insurance coverage you can buy in Louisiana, and how they each work.

Full Coverage

“Full coverage” is often misleading, because it sounds like you are being covered for everything under the sun, right? What it really means is that you have the full coverage required by law, which in Louisiana is:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage

All of the above amounts are liability coverage only. Liability coverage means liability to others, and it will compensate other people if you cause a collision and injure them or damage their vehicle.

It will also protect and insulate you from being personally responsible for their damages up to the limits of your insurance policy, but will not compensate you for your own damages – neither your medical expenses nor the damage to your car.

Uninsured or Underinsured Coverage

Commonly referred to as “UM coverage,” this coverage will compensate you if you are in a collision that is not your fault and the other driver is unable to pay all or any of your damages. UM coverage includes both bodily injury coverage if you are injured and property damage coverage if your vehicle is damaged.

In an uninsured situation, it will be the only coverage in effect if the at-fault party did not have any insurance. In an underinsured situation, it will take effect once the at-fault party’s policy limits are exhausted. For example, if the person who hit you had the minimum amount of legally required coverage of $15,000 bodily injury liability, but your medical bills wind up being $30,000, that is when you’d want this type of coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

Also known as “Med Pay,” this coverage provides a pre-determined amount – typically $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000, depending on your policy – that will help pay any medical bills you might incur as a result of a collision, regardless of who was at fault, up to the limits of your Med Pay policy. It will usually cover not only the driver but also any passengers in the vehicle that were injured as well.

Collision Coverage

This is a non-fault-based coverage that will help you pay for repairs to your vehicle for collision-related damage, even if you were at fault. Normally, there is a deductible you must pay or have deducted from the damage estimate. Your coverage will then pay for any vehicle repairs above and beyond your deductible amount.

Comprehensive Coverage

This coverage functions much the same way as collision, except that it covers any non-collision related damage such as vandalism, theft, and weather-related damage like flooding or wind damage. Again, you would pay or have your deductible amount deducted from the damage estimate, but your comprehensive policy would then pay for any repairs above and beyond that amount.

Rental Coverage

This is another common and useful optional coverage. No, this isn’t the insurance the rental company tries to get you to buy when you rent a car. This coverage comes from your own vehicle insurance, and will pay for you to rent a car to get around with if your vehicle is being repaired.

Normally, your insurance will pay for a rental car for either a specified period of time, like 30 days, OR up to a specified amount of money, like $1,000, whichever is less. So it is usually in your best interest to select an inexpensive rental vehicle because you may use up the amount of coverage before your personal vehicle is out of the shop.

So, To Recap

  • Liability coverage will only pay for the other person’s expenses, and none of your own.
  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage pays your medical bills and vehicle damage if the other driver was at fault but can’t pay due to lack of adequate insurance coverage.
  • Med Pay coverage will pay some (but probably not all) of your medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault.
  • Collision coverage pays for collision damage to your car, while comprehensive coverage pays for all other damage.
  • Rental coverage will pay for a rental car after an accident until your vehicle is repaired.

Insurance Refusing to Pay? Let Us Take Over

At Dudley DeBosier, we’ve heard every excuse in the book from the insurance company, and we know exactly how to respond. After an accident, contact our Louisiana car accident lawyers.

We have many resources at our disposal to help accident victims get the full amount of compensation they are owed after car crashes that weren’t their fault. And best of all, your initial consultation is always free.

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