Auto insurance is mandatory in New Jersey, but the type and cost of that coverage can vary considerably. Every day, consumers are finding that there are options available to make it easier to comply with the law. The New Jersey Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act mandated that a basic policy be available to all drivers.
It is essential to realize that you are breaking the law if you drive uninsured. The penalties for driving uninsured are getting more severe – in addition to risking economic loss by not having insurance protection, you risk fines, suspension of driver's license or registration and even time in jail. In the future, your car could be impounded if you are caught behind the wheel without coverage.
The Basic Policy should be considered by those with few family responsibilities and few real assets. It can provide a transition for younger drivers who are just beginning work, providing a basic, minimum protection when they may be least able to afford more comprehensive coverage.
Let's review the New Jersey auto insurance Basic Policy. The Basic Policy offers less protection, but at a lower cost than the Standard insurance policy.
Bodily Injury Liability
Coverage for claims and lawsuits by people injured as a result of an accident you cause. Coverage is not included but $ 10,000 coverage for all persons, per accident is available as an option.
Property Damage Liability
Coverage for claims and lawsuits by people whose property is damaged as a result of an accident you cause. Coverage of $ 5,000 per accident is provided.
Personal Injury Protection
Coverage for injuries sustained in an automobile accident by you or other persons covered under your policy. Coverage of $ 15,000 per person, per accident and up to $ 250,000 for permanent or significant injury is provided as defined in the policy.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of coverage would pay for property damage or bodily injury if you are in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist (a driver who does not have the minimum level of insurance required by law) or a driver who is insured, but who has less coverage than your underinsured motorist coverage. This is not included in the Basic Policy.
Coverage for damage to your vehicle as the result of a collision with another car or other object. This coverage is not included in the Basic Policy.
Coverage for damage to your vehicle that is not a result of a collision, such as theft of your car, vandalism, flooding, fire or a broken windshield. Comprehensive coverage also pays if you collide with an animal. This also is not included in the Basic Policy.
Collision and comprehensive coverage are available as options on policies issued through PAIP (Personal Automobile Insurance Plan) or on voluntary policies issued by some insurance companies. This is very significant for anyone who has a vehicle loan or lease that requires such coverage.
Another affordable car insurance option in New Jersey is the Dollar a Day Auto Insurance Policy or t he Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP). This is a new initiative to help make limited auto insurance coverage available to drivers who are eligible for Federal Medicaid with hospitalization. Such drivers can obtain a medical coverage-only policy at a cost of $ 365 a year.
People who are currently enrolled in federal Medicaid with hospitalization are eligible for the Dollar a Day policy. You are eligible if the Card Run Identifier on the upper left of your Medicaid ID card has an asterisk "*" after the code and "SAIP" is printed on the lower right of the card.
The SAIP policy can be obtained at most insurance agencies. There are two payment options: $ 360 if you pay up front or $ 365 in two installments.
The policy covers -emergency treatment immediately following an accident and treatment of serious brain and spinal cord injuries up to $ 250,000. It also provides a $ 10,000 death benefit. It does not cover -outpatient treatments such as doctors' visits covered by Medicaid, damage you may cause to other persons or property, or damages to your own car.
The policy only covers those enrolled in Medicaid. If there is one car and several people in the household enrolled in Medicaid, they can all be covered by the same policy. However, there can only be one car per policy.
To apply for this policy, bring the driver's licenses for all operators of the vehicle to be insured and the vehicle's registration and your Medicaid identification card that shows that all persons to be covered under the policy are enrolled in Medicaid.
Remember for both of these types of New Jersey car insurance policies, if you do not have any liability coverage; you are responsible for paying for the personal hardships and some economic damages, such as lost wages, that you cause. The insurer will not provide or pay for a lawyer to represent you if you are sued. Your assets will be at risk, including the risk of having money deducted from your wages if a judgment is entered against you. And, if you lack coverage and someone hits you, you can not sue.