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One Thing You Should Know About Automobile Insurance

Did you know that the amount of liability insurance protection you are required to purchase in Connecticut hasn't changed much in 40 years? In Connecticut today, the minimum amount that you are required to purchase for liability coverage (for your fault) is $20,000/$40,000 (more commonly referred to as "20/40"). It has been the same 20/40 minimum requirement in this state since I began my practice nearly 35 years ago. Why is that?

Do you think that this 20/40 minimum amount is for your benefit or for the benefit of big insurance companies? ….. I'm sure we both know the answer. If you think it through, it makes business sense for an insurance company to limit its exposure to this 20/40 amount. What this mean is that in any one accident, regardless of the injuries sustained, the big insurance companies only have to pay twenty thousand per person and a total of forty thousand per accident on a claim. If you (the insurance company) sell a thousand policies, how many of those people will have an injury claim in a year? Not many. And if the insurance coverage is limited to the 20/40, the insurance companies' exposure is limited as well. You do the math.

The insurance companies have mathematicians to figure out the best way to stack the deck. Do not think for one minute that they don't do it. They do. What can you do to fight back?

Here is one simple approach you might consider. In Connecticut you can purchase double the amount required coverage for what is known as "uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage" for a reasonable cost. What is "uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage" (UM)? UM coverage covers you for injuries you suffer as the result of an uninsured or underinsured driver whose negligence causes you injuries. Why should you care? Because, if you are seriously injured in an accident that is not your fault and the other driver has no insurance or limited insurance (like 20/40), the chance of you recovering for your losses is slim to none.

Many people today either cannot afford auto insurance or purchase the least amount possible. If that person causes your injuries, the chance of that person having personal assets that you can attach is remote. If they do not have some assets, they can discharge your claim in bankruptcy court and keep their assets by using bankruptcy exemptions. You're out of luck. And, if your injuries are serious, the results could be devastating to you. How can you protect yourself?

In Connecticut, the insurance company is required to provide to you along with your auto liability coverage, the UM coverage I have been talking about here. Connecticut law requires that your insurance company, through the UM coverage, pay you for your personal injury losses if the other driver has no insurance or insurance is less than yours. There is a catch, however… That is … insurance coverage less than yours. If you have the minimum coverage, that 20/40 and the "at fault driver" also has the 20/40, you cannot make a claim against your own insurance policy. While this works very nicely for the insurance company, it does not work for you. There is, however, a solution and protection for you and your family. What that? In Connecticut, you can double you uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM) for very little cost. I suspect no insurance company's agent has ever spent much time letting you know about this protection but it may be the best deal you can get from an insurance company.

With the cost of health care today, the minimum insurance coverage is not enough. You should consider increasing your liability coverage and, if you do, you can double that amount and have better protection if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. For example, if you increase your liability coverage to $100,000, you can increase your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to $200,000 and if you increase your liability coverage to $300,000, you can increase your uninsured/underinsured coverage to $600,000. This protects you and your family if you are injured by the negligence of another driver who either has no insurance or too little in comparison to your injuries, such as 20/40.

Hopefully, you never need the coverage, but in case you do you will be thankful that you have it. Its cost will be a pittance compared to the amount of protection.