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Decoding your insurance policy: five terms to know

Auto insurance can be a mixed blessing in the event of a motor vehicle accident. While on one hand you're happy to have the financial protection it provides, navigating your policy can sometimes feel like trying to translate a foreign language.

However, it is important to take the time to get familiar with your insurance policy. Should you be involved in an accident, your insurance company may be more interested in saving money than in making sure you're taken care of financially.

It is helpful to get to know some of the more confusing terms used by insurance companies to make sure you're protected.

It seems counterintuitive, but comprehensive insurance coverage doesn't necessarily mean you're covered for everything. To auto insurers, comprehensive often means that everything except a collision is covered. That means it may lack coverage for property damage or injury.

Bosily injury liability insurance covers injuries to third parties only, not to you, the policyholder. Similarly, property damage liability insurance covers damage to other people's cars, not yours.

Personal injury protection (PIP) is what covers your medical expenses after an accident, as well as lost wages, funeral expenses or other damages.

Your deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for each insurance claim. The lower your deductible, the less you will have to pay before the insurer starts to pick up the tab.

Because all insurance carriers offer unique policies, yours may rely on slightly different definitions for these terms. It is important to review your policy closely, consulting an expert if necessary, to understand your coverage in the event of an accident.

Dealing with insurers can be a hassle at the best of times, and seemingly impossible when you're trying to get your life back together after an injury. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident caused by a negligent driver, consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you build your case and work with insurance carriers to get the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Source: Injured, "5 Confusing Car Insurance Terms Explained," Andrew Lu, Dec. 6, 2012

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