McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Uninsured Motorist: Your Worst Nightmare

Did you know that there are almost 13% of  drivers -- that's around one in every eight-- who are uninsured? And did you know that uninsured motorists cause $2.6 billion in claims? (Insurance
Research Council.)

In Massachusetts, drivers are legally required to have auto insurance. But it's not enough to insure
oneself. You need to insure yourself against those who have no insurance or who are underinsured.

Even those who do have insurance may opt for minimum coverage. The only way for innocent
motorists to protect themselves from underinsured drivers is to purchase adequate underinsured
motorist (UIM) coverage.

Underinsured motorist coverage is extremely important. Many insurance companies battle fiercely to beat competitor price quotes. What they too often fail to explain to drivers is the true reason why their rates are so much lower: Lack of important coverage, such as UIM benefits.

What Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage Offers: Massachusetts requires the purchase of minimum levels of certain types of auto insurance coverage for those who register and drive a motor
vehicle. These are:
  • Bodily Injury to Others: $20,000 per person and up to $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $8,000 per person, per accident
  • Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto: $20,000 per person and up to $40,000 per accident
  • Property Damage: $5,000 per accident
While it may seem $20,000 is a lot of money, in fact it is not when you are involved in a serious
crash. According to researchers, the average auto liability claim for bodily injury in the U.S. was
$15,443 in 2013. That is a figure that has risen steadily over the years. It’s also an average, which means there are many people who suffer injuries for which the medical bills far exceed that amount.

Although Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning innocent motorists first turn to their own car
insurance company to cover losses, drivers may step outside of this no-fault system when the:
  • Injured person incurs at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses and/or
  • Injuries from the accident caused permanent and serious disfigurement, broken bone or a substantial loss of sight or hearing.
UIM coverage steps in to cover medical bills and lost wages if you are injured or if a loved one is
killed in a crash where the at-fault driver only carries minimum car insurance. Your policy would
pay for damages above the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage amount, up to the limits of your
UIM policy. For example:
  • The at-fault driver has a bodily injury limit of $20,000, the minimum required by law.
  • You carry a maximum of $100,000 per person in UIM coverage.
  • The total amount of your injuries and lost wages equals $60,000.
  • Instead of being stuck with only $20,000 from the at-fault driver, you can recover an additional $40,000 from your own auto insurer, for a total of $60,000 -- full coverage of your losses.
Another benefit of UIM coverage is that it doesn't just apply to accidents that occur while you're in the car. For example, you are struck by a car while walking or bicycling. UIM benefits would cover
these damages as well.

Unfortunately, most people don't become aware of the importance of uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage until it's too late. The benefit of securing adequate UIM coverage far outweighs the cost, and will serve you well in the event of a serious Massachusetts car accident.

Do I have you wondering if you have UIM coverage? Give us a call at 508-347-9397 and we'll
check your policy and set you up if you do not have underinsured motorist coverage.