The Importance of Under-insured / Uninsured Motorist Coverage in your Car Insurance Policy
Although August has been reported as the month with the most car accidents in the U.S., snow is the cause of nearly 20% of all weather related accidents. Careful driving in the winter is essential.
If, however, you have the unfortunate experience of being involved in a car accident, there are some important things to know about benefits that may be available through your car insurance policy if you were not at fault for the accident, even if you were not in your car.
There is a provision of your car insurance policy in Massachusetts and many other states that provides Uninsured and Under-Insured coverage. This provision allows you to make a claim to your own insurance policy or even the policy of a family/household member if the person who is responsible for the accident does not have insurance or if the person does not have enough insurance to cover the claim.
Recently the personal injury attorneys at FitzGerald Law Company represented a client who was injured terribly when she was walking and was struck by a car. Our client’s injuries were devastating and she required substantial medical treatment over a long period of time. The insurance policy of the person responsible for the accident was not nearly enough to cover her claim and the driver had no assets either. It appeared that our client would not be adequately compensated. The attorneys at FitzGerald Law Company investigated the policies of the other family members that lived in the client’s home and found a policy that had an Under-Insured Provision that provided coverage far beyond that of the responsible party’s.
Our car accident lawyers were able to make a claim through our client’s family member’s policy that satisfactorily compensated our client for the injuries she suffered. She was fortunate and that is why Uninsured and Under-Insured coverage is so important, it could provide you the coverage that the person at fault may not.
It is also important to have sufficient Uninsured and Under-Insured coverage because in Massachusetts the law does not allow “stacking” of Uninsured and Under-Insured coverage, like some other states do. That means that the Uninsured and Under-Insured provision of a policy will only provide coverage in excess of the other policy or policies. For example, if you have a claim for damages of $100,000.00 and the responsible party has $50,000.00 in coverage, you can receive additional compensation through an Under-Insured provision if the underlying coverage of this provision is larger than $50,000.00. So if your household has a policy with $100,000.00 or more of underinsured / uninsured coverage, you can collect the other $50,000.00 but if the uninsured / underinsured coverage is for $50,000.00 or less you cannot collect more than the first $50,000.00, covered by the policy of the person responsible for the accident.
Driving, biking and walking safely on our streets is a great way to avoid accidents and injuries but that may not be enough. If you are injured and you need more coverage than is available through the primary policy, or if there is no primary policy, Uninsured and Under-Insured coverage can help. Make sure that you review your automobile policy carefully so that you are aware if it includes any uninsured / underinsured coverage and how much. If you are unsure or cannot find it, you may want to call your insurance agent to have them explain this to you and you may want to add more coverage if you find that what you have is insufficient. Sometimes the cost is not much more and it can be a big help should you need it.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident or you were walking or biking and have been injured by a motor vehicle you may be entitled to compensation if you were not at fault for the accident. In MA there is a statute of limitations or limit to bring a claim of 3 years from the date of the accident. Call to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury / car accident lawyers to see how we can help you obtain the best compensation, if you have been a victim of an auto accident or have been injured due to the negligence of others, at: 617-303-2600
The FitzGerald Law Company Team