Car Insurance: What Do The Numbers Mean and What is "Full Coverage" Any Way?

December 21, 2010  |  John T. Buchman

People often purchase car insurance early in life and seldom revisit their insurance coverage with their agents. People often ask me, “How much coverage do I have?” or “What do the numbers mean?” Many are confident they have adequate insurance because they purchased “full coverage,” but what does that really mean? What do the Numbers Mean? Minnesota law regulates car insurance policies issued in Minnesota and sets various minimum coverages and types of mandatory as well as permissive coverages. If you look at your insurance card or declarations page from your insurer, you may see numbers such as: $100,000/$300,000/$50,000, P20A, 100,000/$300,000 UM/UIM (or U/W). So what do these numbers mean? Insurance coverages generally fall into three categories: liability; personal injury protection “PIP” or no fault; and uninsured/under insured motorist coverage. Liability Liability coverage protects you from lawsuits against you or an insured under your policy for car crashes for which you/they are legally responsible. In the above example, the most the insurance company would pay on your behalf is $100,000 per person for bodily injuries they suffer; $300,000 total for everyone injured in any one collision and $50,000 in property damage (including cars, roadside light poles, etc.). (You can and should consider higher coverages). PIP or No-Fault This is the coverage that exists…

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Homeowner's Insurance: Dusting Off the Policy

December 8, 2010  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

You probably took out your first homeowner’s policy when you bought your first home and have not looked at it since. This can be costly. While I know it is as exciting as going to the dentist or sorting your sock drawer, it is important to look at your policy and talk to your agent to assure your policy meets your current situation. The other option is to find out the hard way: when you have a loss and find out that you did not have the coverage that you thought you did. Myth vs. Reality Most people think that their homeowner’s policy provides absolute or “strict” liability for injury that occurs on your premises. This is not entirely accurate. Most insurance policies provide a limited amount of of medical insurance coverage or “med pay” coverage for anyone who is injured on the insured premises. Thus, if your drunk neighbor stumbles and falls down the steps in your home and breaks his ankle, your policy will provide limited medical expense coverage. However, in order to recover more, an injured person has to prove that you were at fault in some way causing the injury. This “med pay” coverage does NOT cover injuries to your own family members that live with you nor is…

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RFN's (Radio Frequency Neurotomies): What Are They and Can They Help Your Pain?

December 8, 2010  |  John T. Buchman

RFN’s are a way to treat certain sources of neck and back pain that have not responded to medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care or massage therapy. RFN’s have been used for over 30 years. They have been used more frequently in the last 10 years to treat neck and back pain arising from car crashes. There is a lot of medical literature discussing them and their effectiveness over time. Visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information about it. The RFN treats a damaged “facet” joint(s) in the spinal vertebral column. A damaged joint sends pain messages to the brain along a known nerve pathway. To determine if the facet joint is the cause of the patients pain, a pain killing agent is injected along the nerve with the aid of a fluoroscope on two different trials. If the pain is then relieved, the next step is to interrupt the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals through the application of heat. This sounds worse than it actually is since I have undergone RFN’s several times myself. A successful RFN procedure will virtually eliminate the patient’s pain for 8-12 months. I have heard my clients explain how relieved they were to finally be without pain. However, the process has to be repeated since the…

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