A story about a family’s fight against a major insurance company recently went viral, exposing what happens when someone does not have enough auto insurance coverage in an accident. A young woman was killed in a collision, with the other driver clearly at fault. The offending driver’s insurance company failed to pay the full amount of the claim.
It is not unusual for car owners to not give much thought to the extent of their insurance coverage. For many, getting insurance to stay “legal” is the goal as opposed to looking over the policy to see what is and is not covered. Most states require a minimal amount of coverage and that is all owners obtain. However, it is wise to calculate what your existing policy will actually cover in the event of an accident.
If you get into an accident with someone who is uninsured, or has a minimal liability policy, the chances are great that you will still be responsible for much of your out of pocket for medical expenses. Some policies pay out as little as $25,000, which only begins to cover the cost of a hospital visit if you are involved in a serious accident. The problems really begin when you find out that your own auto insurer will not cover any shortfalls because your policy was not comprehensive enough.
Avoid a situation like this by going through your policy with a fine-tooth comb. Look for any areas that are not covered, such as uninsured motorist coverage. Realize that you may be required to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver or your own insurance company if it fails to provide coverage to which you may be entitled.
Source: New York Times, “How to Know if You Have Enough Auto Insurance,” Ron Lieber, August 24, 2012.
Our law firm handles personal injury claims against negligent drivers and insurance companies for victims of motor vehicles accidents.