Protecting Yourself Against Drivers With Inadequate Insurance

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Monday, November 9th, 2009

It has been estimated that one in four motorists are driving without adequate liability insurance protection. In the case of an accident, this situation not only affects the uninsured or underinsured motorist, but also other people who may be involved in the accident. So how do you protect yourself? There are really two ways.

First, in your auto policy there is special coverage for “medical payments.” This coverage pays for medical bills for anyone injured while riding in your vehicle. It has nothing to do with fault. Therefore, it is recommended that you have at least $10,000 in coverage, if possible, under your plan. The dollar amount is per person riding in the vehicle.

While this coverage may duplicate coverage you or your passengers may have under a different health insurance policy, it is valuable to have additional insurance coverage for the high medical expenses that can result from a serious accident.

Secondly, you should purchase “uninsured and underinsured motorist” coverage in the highest amounts you can. Recommended levels are at least $300,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.

Here are examples of how these coverages apply.

If you are struck by a negligent motorists who has no insurance protection- because none was purchase or because the insurance company has a valid defense again coverage- then your uninsured motorist coverage kicks in. Your insurance company becomes, in a sense, the insurance company for the underinsured driver.

If you have $300,000/$500,000 limits under “uninsured” coverage, each person in your car can seek as much as $300,000 from your insurance company, and all of the occupants can seek collectively up to $500,000. Each of them would also have the “medical payments” coverage for medical bills.

Underinsured motorists protection works similarly, with a few variations. For example, let’s say you are alone in your vehicle when it is hit by a negligent motorist who has minimum insurance limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.

The insurer for the negligent motorist accepts liability and pays you $15,000 as allowed under the policy. Fortunately, you have “underinsured” insurance coverage of $300,000 per person and $500,000 per accident, which means your own insurance, will cover the balance of $285,000 (up to the $300,000 per person limit). Plus you have access to “medical payments” coverage for medical bills incurred for injuries suffered in the accident.

It is unfortunate that some motorist fail to adequately cover themselves in the event of negligent driving. What is important is that you take steps to ensure that you and your family have insurance protection to cover the significant financial losses that can occur when serious injuries result from an accident.


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