Recently, a young couple we know had their first children, a set of twins, and they were extremely thrilled at the prospect of raising their new family. On the way to a family gathering they suffered a flat tire and pulled over to the side of the road. The husband got out of the car and, while checking to see if his trunk had all the equipment needed to fix the flat, he was hit by a vehicle driven by a young graduate student texting while driving. In the midst of studying for finals, he had inadvertently allowed his insurance coverage to lapse. The husband suffered very serious injuries which left him unable to work and care for his family for the next three years. Clearly, the accident was the fault of the graduate student! BUT coverage under no fault was limited and our young family was left without any help against the young man with limited resources who had caused this tragic accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is simply “insurance that pays for injuries suffered in an accident where the owner or driver who causes the accident doesn’t have enough liability or is uninsured at the time of the loss”. With the presence of additional limits such as an Umbrella policy, excess uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage kicks in after the coverage on the underlying auto policy is used up. I always tell my customers, “you can be sure of the coverage provided by your own policy because you bought it, but you can’t be sure of the coverage held by the other drivers on the road”. The importance of this coverage can’t be and shouldn’t be minimized. In addition, if you are hit by a vehicle that doesn’t stop, whether you are in your car, walking across the street, or riding your bicycle uninsured/underinsured coverage also comes into play.
As insurance agents, it is our job to make our customers aware of the coverages they need and the reasons why they should include such coverage in their purchase. Today, more and more, it seems like the emphasis is on the cost of insurance rather than on the protection which it affords. While some people understand the need for higher than state mandated liability limits to protect us if we are responsible for the injuries of others, we don’t really understand this coverage which can protect us and our loved ones if someone else has the lowest limits or no limits at all. After all, isn’t the purpose of insurance to protect us and our families from unforeseen disasters such as the scenario depicted above?
There is no doubt that everyone today is looking for a bargain and nobody wants to incur any additional expense, especially for something they don’t really understand. A good agent or broker will take the time to answer your questions to your satisfaction and make you knowledgeable about what coverages should be included in your insurance portfolio. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist is a must when it comes to designing your Auto policy. Take it from us, we see claims everyday and nobody is ever sorry for including this coverage in their purchase of insurance when the need for it arises. If you want to feel safe every time you get in your car, you might want to rethink purchasing this coverage and buying adequate limits with this article in mind.
– Karen Skoler, CPCU