All states have laws that require drivers to show proof of their financial ability to cover personal injury or property destruction they cause others, due to their fault in causing an auto accident. Drivers meet this requirement by simply purchasing insurance. However, especially in tough economic times there are an increasing number of motorists who recklessly violate this requirement and drive around with no insurance coverage, thereby jeopardizing the well being of innocent other motorists who may become a victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by the uninsured motorist’s vehicle.
Other motorists purchase the bare minimum of coverage, which for liability in our state of CT is $20,000.00 for the bodily injury, lost wages, medical bills and other losses that an innocent injured party might suffer, due to the fault of the other driver. Further, many purchase only $10,000.00 of property damage coverage to pay for damage they cause to innocent motorist’s vehicle. These amounts of coverage are woefully inadequate to cover even the most basic accident, leaving the innocent motorist vulnerably exposed and out of pocket for their injuries, losses and damages to their person and the vehicle. That is why it is so essential that everyone carry higher than minimum limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on their vehicles, so that they have this insurance available to them to cover these large losses that can otherwise turn their world upside down.
Unfortunately, many people realize the benefit of uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage too late, usually after they or members of the family have been hurt by an uninsured or even underinsured motorist. So I strongly urge you examine carefully the insurance coverage that you have and make sure you have ample coverage on not only your liability portion, but also on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and property damage. This will protect you and your household from suffering irreparable financial harm following an auto accident, from which it is hard to recover.
UINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Uninsured motorist insurance policy is coverage you purchase from your own auto insurance provider, which pays out for bodily injury losses for you and your passengers due to an accident where a driver who is legally at fault for does not have any liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage also applies when an innocent person is injured in an accident by a hit-and-run vehicle, whose owner and operator flee the scene and cannot be identified. This is true even if the fleeing motorist’s vehicle makes no contact with the innocent driver’s vehicle, but causes it to strike another vehicle, runs it off the road, etc.
Studies show that near 50% of motorists in many states have no insurance and those that are insured have minimum coverage. Thus, one should protect themselves just as much as they are prepared to protect others.
In case of an accident with the uninsured driver, all that you are able to recover through your insurance is the amount of your uninsured policy limits that you selected when you bought your insurance. Therefore, make sure you purchase a good amount of uninsured motorist coverage. Surprisingly, to gain good coverage limits only increases your monthly auto insurance bill by a small amount. My recommendation is that you have liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist limits at a minimum of at least $300,000.00. I encourage you to get limits even higher than this though due to the damage an auto accident can cause.
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Underinsured motorist coverage will cover bodily injury damages, lost wages, medical bills and other related losses the policyholder and/or their passengers suffer due to an accident caused by the at-fault driver, who may have liability insurance that is not adequate in amount to cover the policyholder damages. In order to recover underinsured motorist funds, you must initially establish the fault of said underinsured driver in causing the collision and your injuries, losses and damages.
An important requirement for collecting underinsured driver benefits is that you need to collect the at-fault driver’s policy limits prior to collecting under your own insurance policy. Upon having collected the limits of the at fault driver’s policy, you can then demand your insurance company pay out from your underinsured driver benefits under your current policy, to the extent necessary to fully compensate you on your injuries, losses and damages.
If the innocent policy holder has higher insurance limits for underinsured motorist coverage than the underlying liability insurance limits of the at fault motorist, then the innocent party can recover his or her damage from the underinsured motorist coverage they have purchased. The underinsured motorist insurance carrier receives credits for all monies paid out the innocent motorist by the at fault carrier, then the remaining limits of the underinsured insurance company would be available to compensate the innocent party. For example, let’s say the at fault insurance company has $20,000.00 insurance limits and the innocent motorist has injuries, losses and damages that are valued at $50,000.00 and he or she has purchased underinsured motorist coverage of $50,000.00. Under this scenario, the innocent motorist would collect the $20,000.00 from the at fault insurance company and then would be eligible to collect the additional $30,000.00 from their own insurance company through the underinsured motorist coverage they purchased.
The innocent party in our example, even if we hypothetically assume their losses were instead $100,000.00 could only receive a total of $50,000.00 ($20,000.00 from the at fault insurance company and $30,000.00 from their own underinsured motorist insurance company). This is true because their carrier would get a credit for the $20,000 paid out by the at fault insurance company and thus would only have $30,000.00 remaining on their policy. Thus, it becomes crystal clear that purchasing high enough insurance limits in all respects is extremely crucial. A lot of individuals that are victims of motor vehicle collisions often end up having surgery on their back or neck or other parts of their body. The value of their harms and losses can be several hundred thousand dollars. Not purchasing enough insurance can cause enormous financial harm to your household.
Also if you own any assets at all, please purchase an umbrella insurance policy that will protect you if you are negligent beyond the amounts of your auto insurance. You can gain $1 million dollars of umbrella liability protection for about $250-350 for 1 whole year, which is a small price for added protection. You cannot use the umbrella coverage for when someone else is at fault for your injuries, but if you have any momentary lapse of judgment or are negligent in any way this coverage kicks in to protect you, and lets you sleep easy at night knowing your house or other assets are not exposed.
If you someone you care about has been hurt resulting from an uninsured/under-insured driver please contact us at Tindall Law Firm, LLC, so we can help you through this difficult process. We are very experienced and compassionate in helping those injured to receive proper compensation for your harms and losses. http://tindall.webozy.net/ 203-755-0018.