If you drive from place to place for your job, strongly consider electing wage loss benefits under your personal auto insurance policy. At one time, everyone in Pennsylvania had to cover themselves with a minimum of $5,000.00 in wage loss benefits. However, that is no longer the case and you must now elect to cover yourself in this regard.
These benefits provide 80% of your wage loss suffered when disabled from work as the result of the use or maintenance of a motor vehicle, regardless of the vehicle you are using or maintaining. In other words, coverage exists, even if you are using or maintaining your employer’s motor vehicle. There are many coverage options as to the amount of wage loss benefits you can elect to provide for yourself. Usually, these benefits are set up with a single limit or cap to what can be paid out in total, and also a monthly maximum or cap limiting how much can be paid out each month you are disabled. What limits may be appropriate for you depends on how much you make and therefore, how much you will need to sustain yourself while out of work.
Some examples of when auto wage benefits may be payable, include being involved in an auto accident, regardless of fault, getting hurt inside of a delivery van or trailer attached to a tractor while making a delivery, or perhaps twisting your ankle while getting out of a motor vehicle. You may ask: “Why should I elect to cover myself with these benefits when workers’ compensation already covers my wage loss when I am off of work due to a vehicle-related work injury?” The answer to this is that workers’ compensation benefits only cover a portion of your wage loss. Typically, that amounts to workers’ compensation wage loss benefits of 2/3 of your time of injury average weekly wage. Lower wage earners get 90%, some employees fall into a notch rate and higher wage earners are capped at a certain sum (currently at just over $1,000.00) and may not even get 2/3 of their average weekly wage. No matter what your workers’ compensation rate may be, auto wage loss benefits can help bridge the gap.
Auto insurance wage loss benefits provide 80% of the difference between the workers’ compensation benefit rate and the average weekly wage. So, if you are at the 2/3 rate and your average weekly wage is $900.00, you get $600.00 in weekly workers’ compensation wage loss benefits. If you do not have auto wage loss benefits, that $600.00 is all that you get. However, if you do have auto wage loss benefits, with appropriate limits, you would get an additional $200.00 per week for a total of $800.00. If you are a higher wage earner making about $2,000.00 per week on average, instead of receiving a little over $1,000.00 per week in comp alone, you would get about $1,800.00 in combined comp and auto wage loss benefits, again, assuming appropriate limits.
Although this coverage is not that expensive, you may ask: “Can I afford to have this coverage?” The better question to ask is, can you afford not to?
Discuss this coverage with your insurance agent, who will have the details on what coverage may be available to you and what it may cost.