A colleague and I were chatting over coffee, and she shared a concern that I thought others may have. She said she and her husband received an insurance bill for an old beat-up Ford Bronco that her husband drives up at their cabin. She joked that her sunglasses are worth more than that Bronco, so she was shocked to see the insurance bill for it was more than they pay for their newer Lexus SUV.
The reasoning behind this is simple and makes sense when you think about it.
More Fatalities Likely in Older Cars
While newer cars can be more expensive, the insurance on older vehicles may cost more because many older vehicles may not be as safe. A 2013 research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded…
If involved in a fatal crash, the older a car is the more likely its driver will die in that crash.
The risk of serious injury or death from a car accident, whether it’s on the I-77 near Charlotte, N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks, or scenic Rt. 221 through the Blue Ridge Mountains., spikes in an older-model car. And the older the car the more likely the severity of the injury, including fatality.
Minimum Insurance Coverage Enough?
The North Carolina Department of Insurance notes the minimum coverage for bodily injury liability is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per crash and $25,000 for property damage. However, as a personal injury attorney, I can tell you in many cases this is rarely enough to fully cover many damages, particularly in more serious collisions. A good North Carolina car wreck lawyer will generally also seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, as outlined in N.C.G.S. 20-279.21.
Although there is a general perception that newer vehicles are less expensive to insure, the reality is that safety is considered a key factor when insurers determine how much to charge customers.
Almost all insurers give discounts for vehicles that come fully loaded with modern safety features, such as multiple airbags, rearview cameras, improved crumple zone design, blind spot sensors, and more. Vehicles manufactured prior to 2000 were not routinely equipped with those features, many of which were introduced after 2015. Safety and prevention of car accidents in North Carolina can often depend on features such as these.
When you are considering how much auto insurance you need, recognize that even if you can squeak by with lower rates on an older car, you may want to consider increasing your limit because of the heightened risk of serious injuries.
North Carolina is an at-fault state or tort-based system when it comes to how an injured person will be compensated following a car accident. That means the person who was legally at fault generally bears financial responsibility for the crash.
However, keep in mind that many people carry only the minimum level of auto insurance. If you’re in an older car and you suffer serious injuries, it is unlikely that having the minimums will be enough to cover the full scope of your damages. In those situations, you may need to tap into your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage for compensation. While sometimes auto insurers have been known to push back on this in an effort to minimize their own payouts, our personal injury lawyers will fight to try to ensure you receive the compensation you may deserve.
N.C. Car Wreck Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation
If you have been injured by or in an older model car, I urge you to contact the James Scott Farrin personal injury Hurt Line for a free case evaluation. Things can get very complicated very fast, and with medical bills, and quite probably time out of work, you want to try to get the compensation you potentially deserve.