Underinsured Motorist Claims

"Check your “Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage”

We know that no one likes to read their insurance policy. No one wants to think that they will be involved in a serious accident and will need to rely on their own auto insurance. Unfortunately, we recently have seen cases where our clients have not been given sufficient automobile insurance to protect them in major accidents.

One client was hit by a driver who carried only a $20,000 liability policy. Our client had a severely fractured arm and needed hospitalization and surgery. His hospital and medical bills totaled over $15,000. This client was a carpenter who was, due to his injuries, unable to work for a number of months. The person who injured him only had a $20,000 policy. Clearly, that was not a sufficient amount to compensate him for his injuries. Unfortunately, there was nothing else we could do for this client, because he did not have any additional “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage.

To prevent this situation, you should immediately get out your own automobile policy and review it. These are the areas you should check to see if you are properly insured: “Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage” is coverage that you now purchase with your automobile insurance policy. In Connecticut, all automobile policies must have a minimum of $20,000 coverage. “Uninsured motorist coverage” applies when someone hits you and injures you, and they have no insurance. With this coverage, you would then be able to bring a claim against your own automobile policy up to the amount of coverage you have for “uninsured motorist coverage.” “Underinsured motorist coverage” applies when another driver injures you and has a minimal policy, and you have more coverage than that person. For example, if a driver hits you and injures you, and only has a $20,000 policy, you would be able to claim additional benefits from your own policy, but only if you have “underinsured motorist coverage,” which is over $20,000.

“Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage” is the most important coverage for you and your family. You should increase this coverage as much as possible. Many companies offer coverage from $50,000 to $1 million. Connecticut also allows each policyholder to double the amount of their “liability coverage” for “uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.” “Liability coverage” is coverage you purchase to protect you should you injure someone else. That person would then be able to bring a claim against you, and you would be covered up to the sum of your “liability coverage” limits. This means that if you have a $50,000 liability policy, you can obtain $100,000 of underinsured motorist coverage.

We would recommend that you review your own policy and then contact your agent to increase your underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. We believe that you will find that the additional increase in coverage will not cost you much more then the policy you now have. In this way, you will be fully protected should a driver hit you and have no insurance or have only a small liability policy. We hope this information will better protect our clients should unfortunate accidents occur.

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