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Don’t try to save money by having the minimum allowed limits of coverage for your auto insurance

Michael J. Lanza's avatar

Categories: Of Legal Interest Permalink

If you operate a motor vehicle don’t carry the minimum limits of insurance coverage. Remember your insurance doesn’t just protect you if you cause injury to another party, it also protects you from uninsured and underinsured drivers.

One of the first questions I ask a client who has been injured in an auto accident is what are the insurance limits on the client’s automobile policy.  Most important, the amount of coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.  These coverages afford protection when the driver at fault is not insured or does not have sufficient insurance to cover the damages that resulted from the accident.  In my experience about 25% of drivers that have caused my clients to suffer personal injury either have no insurance or are underinsured.

In Connecticut, you have legally met the requirements for auto insurance if you carry a policy that provides $20,000 of coverage per accident per injured individual up to an aggregate amount of $40,000 if the accident resulted in injuries to more than one person.  For example, if a person carrying this minimum policy coverage causes an accident injuring multiple persons, the total amount that this policy will pay out is $40,000 regardless of the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the parties.

This scenario recently played out with a client who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident by an underinsured driver.  My client was rear ended at a stop sign and spent one month in a hospital recovering from his injuries.  His medical expenses were in excess of $100,000 and he was unable to return to work for six months following this loss.  The driver that caused the accident had only the minimum $20,000 of liability coverage to pay for my client’s losses and unfortunately my client only carried the minimum policy limit for underinsurance coverage of $20,000.  The result was financial ruin for my client.

I wish this story was the exception, but unfortunately it is not.  The best protection is to make sure you have a policy of insurance that provides enough coverage to protect against uninsured and underinsured drivers.  So if you are injured in an accident and the party responsible does not have enough insurance, you can make a claim against your policy for your personal injuries.