With summer break comes summer travel, which for many families can mean…that’s right… ROAD TRIPS!
As you cross state lines, the state insurance requirements may change (both New Hampshire and Virginia do not require you to carry auto insurance at all!).
Auto insurance laws vary by state and according to current statistics; it is believed that approximately 14% of US drivers do not carry any type of auto insurance!
So what happens if you are hit by a driver without insurance!?!
While your first thought may be LAWSUUUUUUIIIIIT, it’s likely that someone who doesn’t pay for car insurance generally doesn’t have much money for you to recover either (ie blood from a stone).
Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself if you are faced with being hit and injured by an uninsured motorist.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage is a built-in protection on the Massachusetts Auto Policy at a limit of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. By today’s standard these limits are low. A limit of $20,000 won’t go very far if there is an extended stay and surgeries involved.
You have the option to increase this coverage to a limit of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident with most carriers.
The uninsured motorist coverage will provide protection to you, anyone you allow to drive your vehicle, any members of your household and any other passengers in your vehicle, if injured in an auto accident caused by an uninsured or unidentified driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage
Along those same lines, you also have the option to buy coverage to protect yourself against an underinsured motorist. Let’s look at an example. If you are hit by a driver with low limits, let’s say MA state minimum optional bodily injury limits of $20,000/$40,000, and your medical bills exceed $100,000, who pays the additional $80,000 of your medical bills? (hint: YOU DO!)
Again, you have the option to sue but you may have difficulty collecting that settlement. The way to protect yourself (and the others in your vehicle) is to buy underinsured motorist coverage on your Massachusetts Auto policy. Limits are available up to $250,000/$500,000 with most carriers and excess limits can typically be purchased in the form of an umbrella policy. We would highly recommend an umbrella policy (read more here).
Quite often we see “cheap” insurance policies with low limits and state minimums for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, potentially leaving the policyholder with large medical bills after a accident. These coverages are inexpensive to carry but a lot of agents don’t understand the coverage or explain it well. Make sure you have adequate protection!
Now what about the damage to my car?!?
Good thing you asked. If you carry collision coverage on your own vehicle, the policy will respond! You can also purchase a waiver of deductible (You should be carrying this!) that will waive the collision deductible if the other party is identified and more than 50% at fault.
If the other party is not able to be identified, your collision coverage would still cover the damage, but you may be subject to your policy’s collision deductible.
If you have any questions regarding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, or any of your auto coverages, reach out to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.