My previous post on this subject talked about how a lot of drivers end up driving around with too little of some very important types of auto insurance. I ended the last pointing out that many drivers who have been injured in Massachusetts motor vehicle accidents can suffer not only devastating physical injuries, but suffer financial losses as well due to the “other driver” not carrying enough bodily injury insurance to pay for all of your damages.
This can happen in two principal scenarios:
- The other driver who caused your injuries was driving illegally without any insurance, and has no assets you can attach to pay for your damages.
- The other driver does carry the compulsory minimum Bodily Injury To Others coverage of $20,00 per person/$40,000 per accident, but your (and/or your occupants) damages exceed that amount.
This is where two types of coverages – Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) and Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) can protect you. Massachusetts private passenger auto insurance policies (which any non-commercial driver is required by law to carry) are made up of several different parts – numbered one to twelve. Parts One through Four are “Compulsory” – not optional. Parts Five through Twelve are Optional, allowing you to buy extra insurance for certain coverages. Two of these coverage types are Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsurance Motorist Coverage. They protect you as follows: If a driver hits you who is driving illegally with no insurance at all, you can access your own Uninsurance coverage to pay for medical expenses, lost income or wages, as well as property damage. If a driver that hits you does carry bodily injury insurance as required, but your damages are higher than the coverage that other driver carried, you can access your own Underinsured Coverage to protect yourself.
This may not be exciting reading material, but trust me, as a Massachusetts car accident attorney, I can assure you that thinking ahead and buying these optional coverages is extremely important. Why? Because the financial damages involved in most automobile accidents are very often higher than what the state requires driver to carry for minimum coverage limits ($20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident.) Most people, when buying auto insurance, are interested in primarily one thing: Minimizing the total premium bill. Bad financial move. Worse? Most insurance agents and companies don’t heavily advertise or “push” these important optional coverages. Reason: The extra premium they receive isn’t that much when compared to other, higher margin coverages that they sell, and 2) It puts the insurance company on the hook to pay for those higher damages – and they don’t want that.
The end result is that a lot of Massachusetts drivers don’t elect to buy these optional and important coverages. And they only learn this mistake when it’s too late.
So take a look at your “DEC” page (Coverage Selectons PAge) of your Massachusetts auto policy. If you have any questions, we’d be glad to answer them for you.