How to Buy Auto Insurance

by : Jeanine Steele



Continued from part 3.

Think About it: You Need to Buy Insurance to Protect Yourself, Passengers, and Family Members by Purchasing Underinsured Motorist Coverage (part 4 of 4)

One serious mistake is to decline UIM coverage. Some companies require that you purchase UIM in the same amounts as the liability insurance. However, many companies, depending upon state law, are authorized to sell denominations of UIM coverage less than the liability limits. The insured thinks that he is providing some satisfactory minimal coverage for his family and decides to save some money with lower UIM limits. However, UIM is probably the most important place to spend money.

You are not as likely to cause an accident, as you are to be a victim of an accident. At least if you are taking the time to read this article, you are probably a person who will exercise more care and judgment in your driving than the ordinary person. Therefore, it is more likely that you will be making a claim against another person for injuries sustained by you at the hand of the third party tortfeasor. In this instance, the tortfeasor may (but likely will not) have sufficient insurance to cover you and your passengers for all of your medical expenses, wages loss, and general damages. If not, then the tortfeasor is said to be “underinsured". In that instance, the balance of the value of your claim, above the bodily injury policy limits of the tortfeasor, is the responsibility of your own company’s UIM coverage.

A third possibility is if the tortfeasor is uninsured. This is a distinct likelihood if someone who is reckless, or who has a drinking problem or who is driving with a suspended license involves you in their traffic habits. They caused you and your passengers harm, but they have no insurance. You will be making your entire claim under your UIM polity limits.

All too often, we have seen serious injuries to individuals and their families receive little or partial compensation because the insured elected to “save money" by not purchasing the maximum UIM coverage available to him. Purchase as much UIM coverage as you can.

Be Honest

A word of caution in dealing with your insurance company: don’t try to fool them on any of the information requested, or by insuring only one driver for each of the family vehicles. We have numerous cases holding that one family member is not covered because he or she was not named as a driver of another family vehicle. Questions of whether the vehicle was “available for the regular use" of any individual are complex issues, and history tells that you will lose. Disclose the full number of drivers and you will have the knowledge that you and family members are covered.

The same thing pertains to marital status and student status of children. Our recommendation is to be honest in your application and in your relationship with your company. The few dollars you “save" otherwise will never be a bargain should you loose out in the long run. A contract entered into with materially fraudulent representations can be voidable by the company under some circumstances.

Table of Insurance Coverage Requirements, by State

Most states require that you have liability insurance. This covers you when you're at fault in an accident. If you live in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee or Wisconsin, you aren't required by law (yet) to have liability coverage. For the rest of us, the mandatory coverage varies according to state. In the chart below, minimum liability limits are read a s follows (in thousands of dollars): bodily injury liability for one person in an accident/bodily injury liability for all people injured in an accident/property damage liability for one accident.

So, for Alabama, the minimum requirements are $20,000 of bodily injury liability for one person, $40,000 bodily injury liability for all people and $10,000 property damage liability.

StateRequired coverage typesUninsured/Under-insured Motorist Coverage Required?Minimum liability limitsNo fault?

Alabama
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo20/40/10no
Alaska
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo50/100/25no
Arizona
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo15/30/10no
Arkansas
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/25no
California
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo15/30/5no
Colorado
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/15yes
Connecticut
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes20/40/10no
Delaware
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protectionNo15/30/10no
DC
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes25/50/10yes
Florida
BI liability not required, only property damage liability, personal injury protectionNo10/20/10yes
Georgia
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/25no
Hawaii
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protectionNo20/40/10yes
Idaho
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/15no
Illinois
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes20/40/15no
Indiana
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/10no
Iowa
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo20/40/15no
Kansas
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protectionYes25/50/10yes
Kentucky
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protectionNo25/50/10yes
Louisiana
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo10/20/10no
Maine
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes50/100/25no
Maryland
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motoristYes20/40/15no
Massachusetts
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured motoristYes20/40/5yes
Michigan
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protectionNo20/40/10yes
Minnesota
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured and underinsured motoristYes30/60/10yes
Mississippi
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo10/20/5no
Missouri
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes25/50/10no
Montana
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/10no
Nebraska
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motoristNo25/50/25no
Nevada
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo15/30/10no
New Hampshire
Insurance not required; proof of financial responsibility, medical payments, uninsured motoristYes25/50/25no
New Jersey
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured motoristNo15/30/5yes
New Mexico
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/10no
New York
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, personal injury protectionYes25/50/10yes
North Carolina
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo30/60/25no
North Dakota
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured and underinsured motoristYes25/50/25yes
Ohio
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo12.5/25/7.5no
Oklahoma
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo10/20/10no
Oregon
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured and underinsured motoristYes25/50/10no
Pennsylvania
bodily injury and property damage liability, medical paymentsNo15/30/5yes
Rhode Island
bodily injury and property damage liabilityYes25/50/25no
South Carolina
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes15/30/10no
South Dakota
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes25/50/25no
Tennessee
Insurance not required; proof of financial responsibilityNo25/50/10no
Texas
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo20/40/15no
Utah
bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, uninsured and underinsured motoristNo25/50/15yes
Vermont
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes25/50/10no
Virginia
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motoristYes25/50/20no
Washington
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/10no
West Virginia
bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motoristYes20/40/10no
Wisconsin
Insurance not required; proof of financial responsibilityHealth Fitness Articles, uninsured motoristYes25/50/10no
Wyoming
bodily injury and property damage liabilityNo25/50/20no