Massachusetts Drivers are Underinsured
Are you sufficiently covered if you get into a motor vehicle accident? Sure, you may have been told to secure ample liability coverage so that if you rear end someone your home and assets are protected. But what about you? What if you or your family member is seriously injured?
What if a drunk driver runs into you and has only the Massachusetts minimum liability insurance of $20,000. Or someone falls asleep on the way home from work and her SUV collides with your vehicle but only has the minimum liability coverage? That’s what most folks have; the minimum. What if you are seriously injured? If you have lost earnings, medical co-pays, and have to hire a caretaker? What if multiple people in your family are injured? The minimum policies cover only $40,000 for everyone injured in the collision.
What is Underinsurance in Massachusetts?
Underinsurance is a part of every standard insurance policy. Most insurance agents don’t push it for some reason; however, underinsurance coverage could be critical. It has been for many of our clients since 1985. Review your insurance statement: if you look at Compulsory Insurance, part 3 (Uninsurance), and Optional Insurance part 12 (Underinsurance), check the amount of coverage. If you have the $20,000 minimum, you essentially have no underinsurance coverage. That is, if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and the person that caused your injuries has a minimal policy – their minimal policy is the extent of your coverage. Period.
On the other hand, if you were to purchase $100,000 or more of Underinsurance coverage, you would be able to go after the $20,000 policy from the person who harmed you…and $80,000 of underinsurance coverage ($100,000 minus the $20,000).
Since driving on the roads is about the most dangerous thing most of us do, it’s worth serious consideration.
How Does An Underinsurance Claim Work?
Once the insurance company that insures the vehicle that caused your injuries pays their policy, you file a claim against your own company. These claims are not lawsuits in court, but go to arbitration. While it may sound simpler than court, it can be complicated, and you will have the insurance company trial lawyers (working for your own insurance company) against you every step of the way. Be sure to get experienced legal counsel right away to combat the insurance company professionals.
Does Underinsurance Ever Really Pay?
Yes. We have a client who contacted us upon purchasing his first vehicle. We highly recommended the maximum underinsurance coverage of $250,000. He bought $100,000. Shortly thereafter, walking out of a Starbucks in Cambridge, he was hit by a taxi cab driving due east, blinded by the early in the morning sun, into a crosswalk our client was in. The severe traumatic brain injury our client suffered was permanent. While it took months to get the taxi’s insurance company to pay their minimum policy of $20,000, the underinsurance converge, the additional $80,000 was paid within a month thereafter.
I have been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1985, fighting the insurance companies on behalf of my clients. If you, or a family member, has been a victim of a motor vehicle accident, call us today for a consultation. There will be no obligation and no for us review of your case.