What Are Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Benefits?
Hi everybody Mike Molloy, managing member here at Marcotte Law Firm. Today I wanted to talk about one of the tougher situations we deal with more often than you would think. That's when somebody gets hurt seriously, catastrophically, or even a wrongful death situation and there isn't enough insurance to cover the person for their injuries. This happens a lot in car accident cases, and that's because the minimum amount of insurance that a car has to have is just $20,000.00 for a person's injuries. $20,000.00 can seem like a lot to some people, but when you think about not only the pain and suffering but also the lost wages and the medical expenses of those who have serious or catastrophic injuries, it's really a drop in the bucket.
That's why when we all purchase insurance, we have the option to protect ourselves with certain parts of insurance. Uninsured coverage is part three of the auto policy and underinsured coverage is part 12 of the insurance policy.
First uninsured is when somebody doesn't have any insurance whatsoever. The easiest example is if somebody from New Hampshire, where they really don't have any insurance requirements, drives over the border in Massachusetts and causes an accident. They might just have no car insurance even though their car is legally registered. On the other hand it also covers people who have insurance that is denied. For example if you have somebody who's unauthorized to use the car (if the car was stolen or if the person lied on their auto insurance application) the insurance company might just deny the case altogether. In that sense your claim would be deemed to have no insurance.
This part of the coverage is also meant to cover people who are victims of hit and run accidents. So if the you're hit by a car who takes off and you don't get any of the information don't, don't be afraid because there is available coverage in part three.
On the other hand you have part 12 coverage and this is for people who have insurance but not enough insurance to compensate you for your loss. In that sense the person who issued their insurance would pay their money first and then your insurance company would pay the difference up to whatever amount of insurance you purchased.
Another thing to remember with both of these types of insurance both uninsured and underinsured coverage it's not going to make your insurance rates go up. So there's really no harm in pursuing these claims.
The one big takeaway as you can imagine is that you just have to make sure that you purchase the right amount of insurance to cover yourself if you get into one of these situations. A lot of the time people will pay a lot of money for coverage if they hurt somebody else, but they don't pay the relatively small amount for the same coverage that would protect themselves in those situations. That's why a lot of the times we make sure that we tell our clients that it's best to see a local insurance agent who will likely sell you the insurance that you need. If you buy a policy online, most of the time they're trying to give you the lowest quote possible. They do that by kind of cutting the edges and these two types of coverages are usually ones that you lose out on. Then when you need it, which can be a huge difference in terms of putting money in your pocket, you're going to wish you paid the extra 10, 20, 30 bucks a year.
The other thing to keep in mind is sometimes buying insurance online isn't always the cheapest. You're paying a lot for these companies that have large advertising budgets. Instead of paying for coverage, you're paying for advertising.
If you have any questions on this or anything else having to do with uninsured coverage, underinsured coverage, or you were a victim of a hit and run, or if you have insurance questions about your situation, feel free to reach out to me or any of the lawyers here. We're happy to help. Thanks for watching.