N.C. Motorists: How To Shield Yourself From Financial Ruin

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New Book By Raleigh Lawyer Explains the Ins and Outs of Car Insurance.

UIM benefits allow you to tap into our own auto policy when another motorist who is at fault does not have enough insurance to pay for all of your damages

Raleigh lawyer Ken Hardison has some simple advice for North Carolina motorists -- spend a few extra dollars on auto insurance and protect yourself from financial ruin.

"Your life can be devastated if you have no way to pay your bills or living expenses when you're out of work for a year after a car wreck," Hardison says.

Hardison, the senior partner at Hardison & Associates, often represents clients who have been injured in auto accidents. He says three of every four wrecks are covered by adequate insurance. It's the fourth case that can spell financial disaster. Most drivers don't realize their coverage is not enough until they're stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills and other expenses.

The best way to shield yourself, according to Hardison, is to bump up your underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UIM. Those benefits can cost just a few dollars a month, Hardison says, while providing up to $1 million in coverage.

"UIM benefits allow you to tap into our own auto policy when another motorist who is at fault does not have enough insurance to pay for all of your damages," Hardison says.

The ins and outs of auto insurance remain a mystery to most North Carolina consumers, says Hardison. To help clear up the confusion, he has written a new book, "The Ultimate Guide to Auto Insurance in NC." North Carolina residents can get a free copy by calling (800) 434-8399.

UIM benefits are just one of the many insurance topics covered by Hardison. Other topics include:

  • Decoding your policy. Hardison explains the policy terms that are most likely to mystify consumers, including collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • How insurers set rates. Insurance companies weigh multiple factors, including your driving record and where you live, when setting rates. Quotes from competing insurers may vary by hundreds of dollars. Hardison offers tips for holding your costs down -- and for finding the best deals online.
  • The pain of points. Hardison explains why a single insurance point on your driving record can boost your annual premium by 20 percent or more.

In the perfect world, consumers will never need their insurance, but accidents happen. That's why Hardison devotes a third of his book to what motorists should do following an accident -- from how to report the incident to pointers on getting your car repaired.

Hardison says drivers should never shrug off a simple fender-bender. When hidden damages to the car or undetected personal injuries surface, the opportunity for filing a claim with your own insurance company may be gone. Even worse, the other party may have a change of heart about your handshake agreement -- and decide to file a lawsuit against you.

"Simply stated, walking away and failing to report an accident to your insurance company is truly one of the worst mistakes you can make," Hardison says.

"The Ultimate Guide to Auto Insurance in NC" is one of four books that Hardison or lawyers in his firm have written for North Carolina consumers. Other titles include: "9 Common Mistakes that can Destroy your Workers' Compensation Case," by Ben Cochran; "7 Fatal Mistakes Victims of Accidents Make in NC," by Ken Hardison; and "7 Costly Mistakes that can Ruin your Social Security Disability Claim," by Ken Hardison and Blair Biser.

"I hope these books will educate people so they are not taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies," Hardison says. "I want to level the playing field."

About Ken Hardison

Ken Hardison, known as the "people's lawyer," is the senior partner at Hardison & Associates and has spent the past 24 years building a highly respected North Carolina personal injury law practice. The firm has offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Dunn, Southern Pines and Wilmington.

For more information, visit the firm's Website at http://www.lawyernc.com/index.html or call Ken Hardison in Raleigh at (919) 821-4004 or toll-free at (800) 434-8399. Email: ken @ lawyernc.com.

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