Auto Insurance: Protecting Yourself and Family
March 1, 2012
Tremont Sheldon P.C. repeatedly reminds and educates our clients regarding the importance of having appropriate auto insurance coverage. Over and over again, we see clients who are left unprotected with inadequate insurance. Tremont Sheldon P.C. would like to share with you the 7 DO’s and DON’Ts for selecting the best auto insurance protection for your family as set forth by the Coalition for Insurance Justice:
1. DO understand your policy. Can you answer the following questions?
What is the amount of my Bodily Injury/Liability (BI) coverage? What is the amount of my Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage? What can I do to obtain Conversion Coverage or Double UM?
2. DO increase your UM/UIM coverage if possible.
We always hear people tell us that they have purchased umbrella insurance coverage yet they do not know their UM/UIM limits. While umbrella, excess and BI coverage protects you if you cause an accident, it affords no protection if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you. The only way to protect yourself is to increase your UM/UIM coverage and request Double Coverage. Example: If you have $300,000 BI and $300,000 UM, request Double UM coverage and increase your UM limits to $600,000.
3. DO purchase Underinsured Motorist Conversion (UIMC) coverage. UIMC coverage guarantees that you and your family will be afforded the full extent of the coverage you purchased, no matter how much is recovered from the driver who caused the collision. Otherwise, the amount that you receive from the other driver will be deducted from your coverage. Example: At-fault driver pays out to injured person his $20,000 limited policy. Injured person has limited $50,000 without conversion. Injured person can only make claim for remaining $30,000 in coverage (50,000-20,000 = 30,000). With conversion coverage, injured person can make a claim for$50,000. If the injured person had Double UM, he will have $100,000 of coverage in addition to the $20,000 received.
4. DON’T be cheap — be smart.
A few dollars saved can result in inadequate coverage, which basically is no coverage at all. Although the law only requires limits of $20,000 worth of coverage per person and $40,000 worth of coverage per accident, such limits are woefully insufficient to cover the costs resulting from serious injury. Remember to purchase the maximum amount of insurance that you can afford as it is money well spent.
5. DON’T “write down” your UM/UIM Motorist Coverage.
Always reject any offer to reduce your UM/UIM coverage to below the amount of your BI coverage.
6. DON’T be left without medical coverage.
The law no longer requires you to purchase No-Fault or medical benefit coverage. However, if you do not have health insurance coverage, you should still purchase this optional coverage in order to protect yourself. If you do have health insurance, the premium for this coverage may be better spent increasing your UM/UIM limits.
7. DON’T think “It won’t happen to me”.
Unfortunately, Tremont Sheldon P.C. has seen many situations where clients have been injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers and these clients have had inadequate UM/UIM coverage. Hopefully, you will never need it but be smart and protect yourself.