If you ever read any of my posts, you probably know that I am a “drive a car until the engine falls out” kind of girl. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. I was coming home from the gym, wondering why I keep competing with women half my age, and a car came out of a fast food restaurant without stopping and hit me. I was unconscious for a few minutes and when I came to and was able to think, I thought it was a little strange that the driver of the other car did not get out. When I noticed the car starting, I tried to get the license plate number but it was too late, the car had driven off.

Luckily, a few months ago, I had done a review of my insurance policy and upgraded my services to include additional uninsured motorist insurance coverage and I am so glad I did. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM) covers you if the accident was the other driver’s fault and they either did not have any insurance or enough insurance. Many policies also cover at-fault drivers who flee the scene of the accident. This type of insurance may cover:

Out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by your healthcare policy. This may include deductibles or co-pays. Consider contacting your health insurance company and ask about how you are covered if you are in an auto accident. Then call your auto insurance company and ask how you are covered for an accident caused by someone with no insurance or too little insurance or who flees the scene of the accident.

Compensation for pain, suffering and lost wages. An accident can cost you lost wages and pain from injuries. It’s even worse when the accident is caused by someone without the insurance coverage to pay you back. Without UM insurance, you may have to take the driver to court to get compensated.

Car damages resulting from the accident. This may be additional coverage but can be well worth it. My car was so old I knew any tap would be a total loss so when the airbags deployed, I said goodbye to Blinky (our daughter named the car and it stuck), but I was fortunate enough to get a check for the car that I can apply towards a newer vehicle.

Rental car coverage. We included rental car coverage, which paid for a rental  car until the settlement on our car was finalized. It is hard enough being in a car accident without wondering how you are going to get to work or pick up your kids.

I encourage all of you to contact your auto insurance carrier and do what I call a “fire drill.” This is calling in with the mindset of what questions you would have if you were in a car accident. The answers to these questions will determine if you want to self-insure against any potential accidents or look into what in some cases is low cost protection against bad drivers with low or no insurance coverage. The few minutes you take can save you thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.