Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists: What you need to know

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Wouldn’t it be great to be able to buy insurance against other people’s negligence?

Well, if by “negligent” you mean “a person who neglects to get properly insured, and then hits your car,” then there is good news! For a relatively minimal premium, you can purchase insurance that pays for hospital costs and lost wages when the accident is someone else’s fault, but he or she doesn’t have insurance to cover those bills.

I know your blood is probably boiling. “It’s their fault—so they should pay for it!” you say, full of righteous indignation.

I completely agree with you! They should pay—but perhaps the reason they did not purchase insurance is because they have nothing.

Nothing? Yes, nothing.

Many Americans really own very little, free of the encumbrances of debt. One recent study concluded that 1 in 5, or 20% of Americans have $0 or negative net worth. Other research indicates that 50% of Americans are worth less than $100,000—a sum that could be quickly consumed by medical bills alone. We all need to face the reality that many drivers do not have assets to take, even if you won your lawsuit.

Additionally, according to the Insurance Research Council, 13% of drivers nationally—or about 1 in 8—are underinsured motorists. This means that they have not purchased enough car insurance to fully cover the expenses of a typical accident. As averages go, some geographical areas are better than others. Metropolitan areas are generally the worst. Do not be lulled into thinking that state laws have corrected the underinsurance problem. In an effort to save money, many people are simply dropping coverage to their state’s minimum requirements, which are usually insufficient. In extreme cases, drivers are giving up auto insurance altogether.

A much better, and very inexpensive, alternative is to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance. This insurance pays for your hospital bills and rehabilitation expenses when the other party does not have sufficient, or any insurance. Merriam Insurance recommends you carry the same amount of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage as bodily injury liability.

If cost is a concern, Merriam Insurance can often balance your policy’s coverage differently to ensure adequate basic coverage is in place while protecting you against loss from an uninsured/underinsured motorist.

Contact Merriam Insurance to learn more about how we can help ensure you are properly covered.

James Dick, CPCU, AAI

James Dick, CPCU, AAI

Sales Manager
Schenectady, NY 12301-1038

Toll-Free:
(877) MERRIAM x 219
(877) 637-7426 x 219

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