In North Carolina, if you are in a car accident that is not your fault, the other driver’s auto insurance policy is obligated to pay for your medical care, pain and suffering, lost pay from missed work, etc…BUT, did you know that drivers in North Carolina are only required to have $30,000 worth of liability insurance? That means that in the accident scenario I just mentioned, you could be limited to just $30,000 worth of recovery, regardless of your actual injuries or medical bills.
Further, there are a lot of people driving around in this state without any liability insurance at all. If one of those people hits you, then you will most likely receive nothing for your medical bills or injuries.
Think $30,000 sounds like a lot? Think again. I recently represented a woman who was injured by a driver that ran a red light and hit her in the driver’s side door at 50 miles per hour. Her car landed on an embankment after it was knocked out of the intersection. She had multiple fractures and spent six (6) days in the hospital. Her medical bills alone were well over $30,000. That’s her car in the picture above.
Guess how much insurance the at fault driver had? $30,000. This did not even cover my client’s medical bills, much less lost wages or compensation for the weeks that she could not walk, use the bathroom by herself or live without very strong pain medications and 24 hour help from her daughter and son-in-law.
Now imagine if that driver did not have any liability insurance at all! This is just one of many clients that discovered too late that they did not have enough uninsured or under-insured auto insurance on their policy.
UNINSURED auto insurance is insurance that YOU buy on YOUR auto insurance policy. It pays YOU if YOU are hit by someone that does not have insurance.
UNDER-INSURED auto insurance is also insurance that YOU buy on YOUR auto insurance policy. It pays YOU if YOU are hit by someone that does not have enough insurance to pay all of your damages.
The important point is this: YOU BUY UNINSURED AND UNDER-INSURED COVERAGE TO PROTECT YOU AND THE MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD. It is the way to protect yourself from drivers that have little or no liability insurance. And those drivers are out there in large numbers.
The other thing to keep in mind is that under-insured coverage is reduced by the amount of the other other driver’s liability policy. That means that if the other driver has $30,000 policy limits and you have $50,000 under-insured limits, your total available insurance coverage is $50,000, not $80,000. In my opinion, $50,000 is just not enough uninsured or under-insured coverage.
What’s the bottom line here? I strongly encourage everyone that can afford uninsured and under-insured coverage to buy at least $100,000 worth of both on their policy. And, if you can afford $250,000 or more, then buy it. And, don’t wait for you insurance agent to mention it, because they usually will not.
I hope you never have to recover benefits under either of these types of insurance. But, it will be too late if you are injured by a driver who has little or no insurance of their own. Call your insurance agent and ask them about your under-insured (UIM) and uninsured coverage(UM) today.
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