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In a Car Accident, Under-insured Coverage Can be as Important as Uninsured Protection

This is important for everyone to know regarding your auto insurance. We recently worked with a client who was involved in a car accident. His vehicle was hit head on. The driver of the other vehicle was clearly at fault.

The client has an auto insurance policy with $250K of coverage if he is hit by an "uninsured" driver. "Uninsured" is defined as NOT having ANY insurance. Unfortunately the driver of the at-fault car had an insurance policy for $50K in coverage. He was therefore not "uninsured."

The client, who sustained catastrophic injuries, can only collect $50K from the other driver and NOTHING from his own policy. He would have been much better off if the other driver had no insurance, since then he'd have the $250K instead of just the $50K.

Most insurance carriers sell "underinsured" coverage. If this client had underinsured coverage of $250K, his own carrier would have added $200K to the other driver's coverage,  protecting him up to $250K. Many insurance agents don't talk to their insureds about this. In fact, certain insurers have only begun offering this type of insurance in the past few years.

As someone who has represented catastrophically injured people for more than 35 years, I have seen that the compensation received after an accident is often a significant factor in one's recovery and quality of life going forward.  PLEASE check your policy and be sure you have at least $100K to $200K in both "uninsured" AND "underinsured" coverage. (Personally, I would recommend $200K to $500K.) It costs very little additional premium and is the only way to compensate your family if you are hurt by someone with minimal insurance.

© 2019 Varnum LLP

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About this Author

Peter A. Smit, Varnum, litigation lawyer
Partner

Peter is a partner and leads the Personal Injury Practice Team. His practice focuses on business litigation defense (FSLA, Product Liability Defense, Malpractice Defense) as well as significant experience in personal injury, wrongful death, auto and trucking litigation. Peter is certified in Alternative Dispute Resolution for practice in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Michigan and in Michigan circuit courts.

616-336-6508