Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • General damage refers to medical or psychological effects relating to your auto insurance policy
  • General damage is defined as anything that cannot be weighed or measured
  • Injuries sustained from a car accident may incur a certain amount of medical expenses

General damage refers to medical or psychological effects relating to your auto insurance policy. These are calculated in different ways based on the auto insurance company and state in which you live. It may be a set amount or calculated based on medical bills occurring as a result of your accident.

General damage is defined as anything that cannot be weighed or measured. This includes pain and suffering.

Injuries sustained from a car accident may incur a certain amount of medical expenses. In addition to the necessary medical expense, there may be lifelong irreversible damage or temporary losses.

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What specific instances fall under auto insurance general damage payments?

If you are hurt to the extent that you have to miss work for a certain period of time, this falls under the general damage category.

If you have any injuries that will affect your ability to perform your job, this also qualifies as general damage.

Ask yourself if you require any medications, breathing machines, a wheelchair or anything else to live your life. Anything that affects how you go about your normal routine potentially falls under the general damage category.

You can include these things when you file a claim for general damages with your auto insurance company.

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Is there a limit to how much I can claim?

There are likely limits to how much you can claim for general damages. These limits are set by the auto insurance laws or the auto insurance company. Contact your insurance company to find out if there is a limit for general damages, and how they calculate the amounts.

Find out if there are any additional requirements they have when filing this sort of claim. Know what documents and information they will be asking for.

You will want to keep records of all medical visits and supplies. Most of the insurance companies will use the medical cost to determine the amount for general damages.

Generally, it will be a certain number that they will multiply your medical expenses by determining the number of general damages.

When you file your auto insurance claim you will want to include an estimate of future medical expenses.

One way to come up with an estimate is to multiply your current medical expenses by 3 to get a general determination.

Also, ask your insurance company what they use to calculate future medical expenses or if they have any rules or caps related to this.

You may want to research your state to learn more about caps for general damages. This will give you a better idea of what to expect when working with your insurance company.

Should I hire an attorney?

It may be in your best interest to hire an attorney. A lawyer will know the ins and outs of how these damages are calculated in your state. An attorney looks out for your best interest and is an expert in negotiating.

This will help you to ensure that you are not settling for a lesser amount than you are entitled to for your pain and suffering.

You can also search for attorneys that specialize in similar cases. They will have the experience to know what has happened in previous situations.

They may have even dealt with the same insurance company previously, which will give them an advantage in preparing for negotiations.

There will always be a cost to hire an attorney, it should help you receive a reasonable amount for your general damages claim. The insurance company will always look to get out with the cheapest number possible.

If you don’t have an attorney present for negotiations, they will feel as if they have the upper hand by working with somebody who is less knowledgeable on the subject.

For that reason, it is a smart idea to hire an attorney. If you research general damages for your area and the rules of your insurance company, you will have a better idea of what you need in an attorney.

It’s always about your interest and making sure you are being represented fairly in the negotiation process.

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