The Importance Of Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
I am going to just say this bluntly. I am holding nothing back. I am going to just put it out there.
This is THE most important coverage on your auto insurance policy.
Boom, mike drop.
I make this bold statement because ultimately, I am the only person who can and should care the most about protecting myself and my family in the event of an auto accident. I refuse to take that responsibility lightly. And I refuse to give up my rights and my choices for how I want my family cared for to some unknown “other driver” who may or may not have good insurance, enough insurance, or any insurance. And if you are not already thinking this way, I challenge you to take control of your family’s financial outcome in the event you or they are hurt or killed in an auto accident that is someone else’s fault.
One of the coverages included in your auto liability policy is called “Under and Uninsured Motorist Liability”. Like the name says, this is liability coverage (bodily injury or death) payable to you and your insured resident family members (spouse, kids, etc.) if someone else is at-fault and they have too little (Underinsured) or no (Uninsured) auto liability insurance.
The last statistic on the percentage of uninsured (not underinsured) drivers in Minnesota was from 2015. At that time, the Insurance Research Council has Minnesota with an estimated 11.5% of the drivers on the road as carrying absolutely no insurance. None. That is one out of almost every 9 drivers on the road. Think about that fact the next time you are driving and pass 8 other cars, or see 8 other cars at a stop light, or 8 other cars in a parking lot. Chances are if they have no auto insurance, do you really think they also have a lot of other assets to help pay for your losses from their own personal bank account? My gut says nope.
Here is a sobering fact: The state minimum required auto liability limit is only $30,000 per person with a maximum of only $60,000 per any single accident. That’s it. Higher limits are not required by law. The chances of exceeding those minimum limits in any significant accident are high. Consider the costs of medical care on the scene, ambulance costs, hospital costs, surgeries, rehabilitation, lost work, future medical costs and care, pain and suffering, etc. In my more than two decades I have helped handle multiple serious vehicle accidents where our client was not at-fault and the medical costs exceeded $100,000. And those individuals fully recovered and had no long-term effects from their accident. We have assisted with claims exceeding $300,000. And one claim exceeding $1,000,000.
So if one of every 9 drivers has no insurance, how many of the remaining 8 drivers have enough insurance to cover a serious accident? How much coverage would you want to have available to you if you or your family was injured or killed in an auto accident that was not your fault? How much possible medical coverage would you want? How about to cover your lost salary if you can’t work? What about for future care, expenses or services you might need if you are permanently disabled, such as a wheelchair or home access accommodations? Whatever that figure is for you, that is the amount of coverage you should be carrying on your auto policy for your Under and Uninsured Motorist Liability. You can’t and should rely on the other 8 drivers to carry that for you. I don’t.
Under and Uninsured Motorist Liability is available on all auto policies and on several of the umbrella policies we have available today. It is possible to carry between $2 and $3 million in Under and Uninsured Motorist Liability. And it is shockingly affordable. And most often adding an umbrella policy to your auto and home policies also gives you discounts on those policies so you have some extra funds to pay for the better coverage.
I encourage you to considering increasing your auto liability to secure the highest protection for you and your family that is available on your auto policy. Again, the cost to do this is usually incredibly small. Adding an umbrella policy just helps round out your personal protection to help guard against the liklihood that the at-fault driver in your accident did not have the benefit of insurance professionals like us when choosing insurance coverages.