New Year’s Resolutions

10 December 2021
new years resolution

I hope 2021 was a good year for all our readers. In preparation for the New Year, I have a few legally related suggestions to make 2022 a great and successful year.

Everyone can agree that a great year includes protections for those we love. This involves planning. By taking stock of our various legal issues and planning to address them, each person can set priorities on how to meet legal and financial goals for the New Year.

In our society, insurance coverages are an integral part of the legal landscape. Insurance provides a framework for most asset protections.  It also allows for physical protections when it involves healthcare. Because we live in a society that apportions fault to those responsible for injuring others it is vital to have insurance policies that provide protection in the event of a mishap.

There are many different types of insurance policies. The most common are homeowners and automobile policies. These policies cover risks for fire, and casualty, as well as automobile property and casualty coverage. Obviously, businesses have other policies to protect business property, products liability, workers compensation and other policies protect businesses from interruptions. It is important to review with an independent professional all of what is available. As I have written in other columns, it is important to review one’s insurance with a qualified lawyer, or agent. One normally does not know what coverage is needed without a deep dive into each person’s financial circumstance, and risk tolerance. An example of what should be discussed are terms like “full coverage” and purchase only what you need.

A common confusion in an auto policy is the term “full coverage”, as one person’s full coverage, is another person’s poor coverage. Each part of an insurance policy is supposed to cover specific needs of an insured. Deductibles should be examined. If you live in a rural area, a lower deductible may be necessary as part of comprehensive coverage as deer and other animals may be more prevalent in your area. Glass coverages may need a lower deductible if you travel highways more frequently. All these property coverages need to be looked at carefully with an agent before purchasing a policy. Additionally, it is recommended that liability and umbrella coverages be looked at depending on your needs. Do you have enough coverage to protect others from one’ own negligence? Is there enough uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself, and your family if someone else responsible for the collision doesn’t have enough policy?  Know that we recommend that one purchase uninsured motorist coverage equal to that of your liability coverage to provide protection from someone who does not have insurance or does not carry enough limits.

Adequate damage protections under homeowners’ policies are very important. Does the policy pay full value, or a depreciated value of your goods in the event of a loss?  Does it protect the homeowner form water damage, fire, and roof damages? Does it have a medical pay policy to pay for those who get injured in your home due to no one’s negligence? Homeowners insurance also provides for liability outside of the home. It may coverage negligence claims for your family members who injure others while at school. It may cover claims for slander and libel when posting in social media. These protections need to be discussed with the agent.  Renters have different considerations because they can’t purchase a homeowner’s policy. However, they can get adequate coverages as a tenant. As more and more people sell their homes and move to rental communities, these protections become just as vital. Homeowner’s and renter’s policies can both provide protections for events that are unanticipated. 

An overlooked financial protection that an insurance policy provides is for prepaid legal help in the event of an occurrence. Hourly lawyer time is quite expensive and is paid directly by insurance company’s when insurance coverage is triggered. Paid for legal helps take the financial sting out of any legal controversy.  When a situation arises that a lawyer is needed, they should represent the insured interests over that of the insurance company. 

In choosing an agent, or insurance company look to their reputation. Does that insurance company have financial resources to pay claims? Will they pay claims? Will they protect you if you are sued?  Is the agent smart, and give guidance to help select the coverages needed? A good guide to find out is through reviews such as from Consumer reports, google reviews, and better business bureau complaints.

As we approach 2022, I hope that each of us will take the time to review their financial protections before a bad event can take everything away. As a personal injury lawyer who sees many bad situations due to the negligence of others, I recommend this approach to everyone.

I hope 2022 is good for all and wish every reader a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Steven Leibel is the Principal Attorney at Leibel Law. He is a Georgia Super Lawyer in personal injury and is rated preeminent AV by Martindale.com. If you have any questions, please feel free to email at info@leibel.com or call (404) 892-0700