Underinsured Motorist Coverage in CT
What You Don’t Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Connecticut Can Hurt You
In many situations, the most important automobile insurance coverage you have is uninsured motorist coverage (UM COVERAGE). Simply stated, this insurance is intended to provide you with additional protection when you are in an accident with another driver who is responsible for causing the accident but has no insurance or whose insurance liability limits are not adequate to cover your losses (i.e. medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and permanent impairment).
Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In Connecticut, if you register a vehicle, you must have auto liability insurance with minimum coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. You also are required to have UM COVERAGE in the amount of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Despite these requirements, many drivers are uninsured in the state of Connecticut. Even if you are in an accident where the at-fault driver has the minimum liability insurance, you probably are not protected. In a majority of cases we have handled over our forty years of practice, persons injured in car or motorcycle crashes have injuries and other losses that far exceed the $20,000 per person minimum coverage.
The following examples illustrate why it is vital to have more than the minimum coverage.
You are injured in an accident where you and the other driver each have minimum policies ($20,000/$40,000). The other driver is at fault, and your bills and other losses total $100,000. The other driver’s insurance company pays you the policy limits of $20,000. Because you only had a $20,000/$40,000 UM policy, you cannot collect anything from your own insurance, and you are out $80,000.
The same facts exist as above, but you have purchased $250,000 worth of UM COVERAGE. You can collect $20,000 from the at-fault driver, and your UM COVERAGE will pay $80,000 more.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can You Have?
In Connecticut, you are allowed to purchase twice as much UM COVERAGE as you have liability coverage. For example if you have a $250,000/$500,000 liability policy, you can have UM COVERAGE of $500,000 per person and $1,000,000 per accident. The premium on this additional coverage is very reasonable and well worth the cost.
Two Types of UM Coverage
Interestingly, Connecticut allows you to purchase another kind of UM COVERAGE. This is called UM CONVERSION COVERAGE. If you choose this option, you will be able to receive up to the full amount of your UM COVERAGE despite what the at-fault driver’s insurance pays you.
The following are examples of how these two types of UM COVERAGE work.
You are in a devastating accident worth $600,000 for settlement purposes, and you have the policy limits listed above, but have chosen the basic UM COVERAGE. The at-fault party has a $100,000 liability policy and his insurance company pays this to you. You can collect $400,000 from your UM COVERAGE ($500,000 minus the $100,000 paid by the at-fault driver).
Everything is the same as in Example 1 above; however, you have purchased UM CONVERSION COVERAGE. Now you can not only collect the $100,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance, but also the full $500,000 you have in UM CONVERSION COVERAGE for a total of $600,000.
This article gives you a simplified explanation of uninsured motorist coverage in the State of Connecticut. We would advise you to contact your insurance agent or insurance company and discuss increasing your uninsured motorist coverage. We at Mahon, Quinn & Mahon would be happy to provide you with a review of your auto insurance policy. Please call us at (203) 238-1010 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.