The foundation of asset protection is not just to have good legal documents or legal advice, though those things are important. It is to have good liability insurance. Don’t skimp! Most people skimp on insurance because they want to pay a lower monthly rate. However, it is important to have more than just the minimum required amount of liability insurance. This is because it not only covers you when you’re at fault, but also when you’re not at fault and the other driver has no or minimum insurance. Even if you are the safest driver in the world, you’re still at risk of encountering an inattentive or reckless driver, who has no or minimum insurance.
Most people want to pay the lowest monthly rate, so they skimp on their coverage. However, there is a way to get more coverage without paying the higher rate. Insurance companies tend to offer a discount for your first year, and then hike up the prices. These companies know people do not want to shop around for insurance every year. One thing you can do to pay less for insurance, is to switch insurance companies every six months to one year. Doing this can help save from $300-$3000 each year, if you are willing to do the research and make the switch.
There are other ways to reduce your cost for liability insurance. For instance, maintaining a clear driving record is one way to keep your cost low. Some companies offer discounts to first-responders, military veterans, educators, or for other certain professions. Keeping your annual mileage low could have an affect on how much you pay, as will bundling your home and auto insurance. Finally, if you are in the market for a new car, factor in insurance costs for that make of car. Certain vehicles are more expensive to insure because of the type of car it is. Typically, a sports car will be much more to insure than a Sedan!
Medical payments in our automobile coverage can also be very important for seniors. Once we go on Medicare, there are some surprises for seniors. One of these surprises is called a “Medicare Lien.” When you are injured due to another’s negligence, Medicare is the primary payer even if you have supplemental insurance. Medicare pays most of your medical costs, and your supplemental insurance pays for the remainder, or its paid out of pocket. Once you sue to recover for the accident, your medical costs are considered in deciding your claim. Before you go on Medicare, you receive the settlement (after your attorneys are paid of course), and there is no payback to your insurance company. Once you’re on Medicare however, Medicare gets paid back before you do. In fact, if the other driver has minimum coverage, you may not receive any of the settlement at all.
Medical payments can help with this problem. It will pay you, at least up to the maximum of the medical payments, whether there’s a Medicare Lien or a personal injury settlement or not. Sometimes, medical payments are all a senior will receive after an accident because of the Medicare Lien. Hence, if you can afford it, you should have maximum liability coverage and maximum medical payment coverage on your vehicles.
If you or your loved have questions about asset protection, or would like to know more about government assistance programs such as Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, or other Special Needs programs, consider W.G. Alexander & Associates – we are experienced attorneys who offer a unique blend of asset protection, Elder Law and estate planning. You can also attend our free seminars, learn more here, or call us at (919) 256-7000.