What Insurance Companies Do Not Want You to Know: UNDERINSURANCE
As a NY estate lawyer with a background handling large personal injury cases, I have a unique perspective on insurance. Over the years I have handled sizeable accident cases where victims were maimed, killed or worse through no fault of their own. The saddest cases involve victims of hit and run drivers who leave their wounded to die in the middle of the street without any remorse.
For a NY estate lawyer, it not uncommon to handle estates for victims’ families after horrific accidents. The family understandably wants to know who will compensate them after such an event occurs?
The fact of the matter is, in New York State the minimum insurance policy is $25,000.00. This means that if you or a loved one is injured in an automobile accident through no fault of your own, and the offending vehicle has the minimum policy as most drivers in NY do, you can only collect $25,000.00 from the culpable party. As we know the medical bills alone for a badly injured person could eclipse that amount in a matter of weeks.
What is underinsurance?
Underinsured/Uninsured motor vehicle insurance is a type of addendum you can add to your automobile policy protecting you and your loved one’s from such an event. Should someone with a minimum $25,000.00 policy, hit and run driver or uninsured motorist injure you or someone in your household, your own automobile insurance policy would cover you for a set amount over and above the offending vehicle’s policy. As a NY estate lawyer, I tell all my clients to maintain this type of coverage.
I have seen too many instances to count where my client’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage prevented a financial calamity. Being injured in an accident is bad enough without having to deal with financial difficulties later. In this NY estate lawyer’s opinion, the same principal behind more expensive life insurance policies make underinsurance policies a necessity.
The good news is these types of underinsurance polices are very cheap to add to your existing automobile policy. You can often add $500,000.00 of coverage to your policy for only a few dollars more a year. The bad news is that although most insurance companies are reputable some are not. Less scrupulous insurance companies often direct their brokers and sales representative not to inform their insureds about underinsured/uninsured motorist policies and even discourage potential buyer’s from acquiring this important coverage.
If you do not currently have underinsured coverage on your automobile policy call your insurance agent and insist on it today. Hopefully you and your loved ones will never need this type of coverage and this is all academic. However, should the unthinkable occur it is better to be prepared rather than counting on the offending driver to do the right thing by maintaining a responsible amount of coverage or not leaving the scene of an accident.
If you or a loved is thinking about planning any aspect of their estate, whether it be a will, trust or something else, feel free to speak with a NY estate lawyer at the Law Offices of Jason W. Stern & Associates at (718) 261-2444 for a free consultation.