An Introduction to Car Insurance
Carrying car insurance is part of responsible car ownership. Most of us can recall our first car insurance policy – probably with limits of $25,000 per person injured, and $50,000 for injuries per car accident (often referred to in shorthand as $25,000/$50,000). As we get older, we recognize the legally required minimum amount of insurance probably isn’t enough to cover all injuries and increase our coverage. Most people carry around $100,000 insurance per injured person, with a $300,000 cap on total compensation for injuries per accident ($100,000/$300,000). In most cases, this is enough insurance to cover other people’s injuries when an accident is your fault.
What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You
But what happens when the accident isn’t your fault? The liability insurance policy you carry is for when you are the one who caused the accident. The policy is designed for compensating others when they are injured. When you are injured, it’s the other driver’s insurance policy that comes into play. If they are only insured for $25,000, that’s the extent of compensation you can receive from their policy. What if your injuries cost more than the limits of the policy? Or worse, what if they don’t have insurance at all?
Understanding Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist Coverage – An Introduction
When you are injured, and someone else is at fault, the policy you carry comes into play if the person at fault doesn’t have car insurance, or doesn’t have enough car insurance – but not your liability policy. Instead, Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist coverage (known in the industry as SUM coverage) provides added protection to safe drivers. SUM coverage provides coverage when the driver at fault doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your loss or doesn’t have insurance at all.
However, SUM coverage also has limits. In most states, the amount of SUM coverage that comes with the insurance policy you purchase defaults to the legally required minimum of $25,000/$50,000. If this reflects your policy situation, if you sustain $75,000 in medical bills and lost wages, and the at fault driver’s insurance policy is $25,000, you receive $25,000 from the at fault driver’s insurance company and $25,000 from your insurance company – regardless of the amount of coverage you carry covering other drivers. This could leave you financially compromised. Who will pay the balance of your medical bills? What about future medical care?
Protecting Yourself with Increased Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The good news is, for about $2.00 a month, you can increase your SUM coverage from the legally mandated minimum to a greater amount, typically consistent with the amount of coverage you carry protecting other drivers. In other words, if you carry a $100,000/$300,000 liability policy, for about an additional $25.00 a year, you can increase your SUM insurance coverage to $100,000/$300,000 as well. This is far and away the best $25.00 you will spend all year. Hopefully, you will never need it. But if you do, that $25.00 investment translates into $100,000 worth of coverage you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late
Unfortunately, all too often, people find out about the benefits of SUM insurance after it is too late. They sustained injuries in a car crash which wasn’t their fault. It is only while consulting with an experienced Washington DC car accident attorney that they learn about SUM. No personal injury attorney likes telling people about SUM coverage after the fact. It is painful telling people, for literally pennies a day, they could have purchased insurance protecting themselves against potential financial devastation. Unfortunately, like most insurance, you can’t backdate a car insurance policy. To a one, people express dismay. To a one, people say, had they only known about the importance of SUM insurance, they would have spent the few extra dollars necessary. Had they known, they would have made sure they – and their family -were protected.
The good news is, you are reading this article. Why not pick up the phone and contact your car insurance agent? It only takes a couple of minutes. Let them know you want to make sure your SUM coverage is equal to the coverage you carry protecting others. You will not regret it.
We certainly hope you never experience a car crash. We particularly hope you never face an uninsured or underinsured driver. However, if you do, we are here to help for Washington DC car accident attorney. Contact our firm for a free consultation to discuss your auto car accident injuries and your options.