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July 24, 2012 / Admin

Audit Your Auto Insurance Policy. . . . .You Very Well Might be Underinsured

In California, you can legally drive a Chevy Suburban, but state law only requires you to carry $15,000/$30,000 liability insurance. Where is the sense in that? Your vehicle is capable of wreaking havoc in even the most minor of accidents.   Moreover, if you cause a serious injury because of your negligence, and are “judgment proof,” as many people driving on California roads are, there is a very low likelihood that the person you hit is going to be adequately compensated from your minimal insurance policy. Put the shoe on the other foot. What if you are walking to dinner, and struck in a cross-walk by an inattentive person driving their brand new Cadillac Escalade carrying the minimum insurance required by law, and you sustain a broken femur. Is $15K going to adequately compensate you for the months of physical therapy you will have to undergo to rehabilitate from that injury? What if you have to take of months of work? You would be seeking your loss of earnings from that same $15,000 policy.

One of the more frustrating (and sometimes heartbreaking) things that I often come across representing catastrophically injured parties is either the total lack of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage or totally inadequate limits, such as a $15,000/$30,000 UM policy.  I think back to a recent wrongful death case where the plaintiff’s decedent was struck by an underinsured SUV that ran a stoplight, and the family had only a $15,000.00 insurance policy to chase. They ended up losing their home because there simply was not a viable defendant to pursue for that loss.

What is even more frustrating to me is that consumers are unaware of the relatively low cost to “up your coverage.” Oftentimes, for less than another$60- $100/year in premiums, you can purchase 100K/100K UM coverage or even higher. I actually recommend carrying at least 500/500 UM coverage if you drive in California. There are many uninsured drivers out there. Remember, it is your responsibility to protect yourself in advance. Think about what kind of money you would need to tide your life over while you recover from a major injury if the person who injures you is uninsured/underinsured. Even the most aggressive personal injury plaintiffs’ lawyer will not be able to extract blood from a turnip if there are inadequate assets to pay a judgment.

 

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