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Does Your Auto Insurance Cover You Completely? Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Can Help Fill the Gap

Posted in: Personal Insurance

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about making sure you know what’s covered in your auto insurance policy. While there are several areas that you should take a close look at if you haven’t reviewed your policy lately, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage is an area you should pay particular attention to.

As many as one in seven drivers in the United States are uninsured/underinsured, according to a report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). And, the number of these drivers is up, a fact the IRC attributes to the economic downturn.

If you are injured in an accident caused by an underinsured driver, Uninsured Motorist Coverage reimburses you for pain and suffering, economic damages, and costs not covered by other types of insurance. Some states do not require Uninsured Motorist Coverage in any form. Investigate to determine what is included in your policy and if it isn’t included, or not at the maximum level, consider broadening. If you live in states where this type of coverage is compulsory—including Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and several others—what you may not realize is that the extent of your default Uninsured Motorist Coverage is often inadequately low.

This is where Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage can offer more peace of mind. For individuals who carry underlying liability limits of at least $500,000 bodily injury coverage per person/$500,000 bodily injury coverage per occurrence/$100,000 property damage liability, 100/300/100 is a common baseline, this additional coverage provides a much higher payout in the event you or a family member become the victim of an uninsured or underinsured driver.

You should consider the following points when reviewing your insurance policy:

  • Your health insurance, for instance, might pay for medical care immediately following an accident, but it will not cover the full costs of a long-term, life-altering injury. Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage will pay for loss of wages, pain and suffering, and the costs resulting from injuries that require a lifetime of care.
  • The basic Uninsured Motorist Coverage that comes with all policies in Maryland, for instance, is only a minimum limit of $30,000 per person/ $60,000 bodily injury per occurrence/$15,000 property damage. That’s a paltry amount for a victim facing a lifetime of medical care or a lifetime of lost wages.

Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage has historically only been offered by high-net-worth carriers; however, it is now being offered by other markets, which provides an opportunity for all clients to take advantage of this coverage. A limit of $1 million or more is available depending on the individual risk. The cost of Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage can typically be offset without adding to your premium. Instead, the additional coverage can be paid for by raising your deductibles on car and home.

With Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage now being offered to a much wider subset of the population, it makes sense for every driver to carry it on his or her policy. It’s insurance you hope you’ll never need, but in the unfortunate event that you or a family member are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you’ll be immeasurably glad you have it.

PSA can assist you with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage to suit your needs. Please feel free to contact me at john@psafinancial.com with any questions.