2/1/2017 1:05 PM

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This is one of those sad stories. It's a story that doesn't have a happy ending, but hopefully can illustrate the point that having the right protection can literally save your life.

One of our customers in the agency recently suffered a serious loss. What happened was that our client, let's call her Mrs. X was T-Boned in an intersection accident. The driver of a rather large SUV ran a red light and crashed into the driver's side door of my clients' car. The driver of the SUV sustained only minor injuries, but unfortunately, our customer was severely injured. Clearly, the accident was the other guys fault. She was taken to the hospital and had head injuries, broken bones and multiple lacerations. She will probably need medical attention for many years.

Believe it or not, that's not the worse part. It turns out that the person who hit my customer carried only minimum limits on his auto policy. He had few assets so Mrs. X would not recover anything. She will blow thru the No Fault Insurance and the $25,000 of liability coverage in a matter of months. This poor lady will need close to $250,000 in treatment. 

Where will the money come from? What can she do?

The only solace to this story, the only saving grace, is that she had an often ignored coverage called Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage will protect you if the at fault party does not have any or enough insurance. It's no small problem either. 1 in 8 drivers in NYS are uninsured. By law you must select a minimum amount of coverage. Usually it is the state minimum. ($25,000 in NY). Fortunately, for our customers, we make it a practice to match the bodily injury limit. In this case its $500,000.

In this case, Mrs. X was able to recover the money she needed for her treatment. She has a long road ahead but at least won't have to worry about losing her home to pay medical bills.

There's a bigger lesson here. 

The lesson is that insurance is a complicated contract. These days, many people opt for the convenience of buying it themselves online. I totally get that. It's a quick, inexpensive and pretty hassle free experience. The problem arises when you don't have help picking out the correct limits. I see it almost every time a potential customer asks me to look at one of those direct writer companies like Geico. I see minimum Uninsured Motorist Coverage limits, minimum no fault limits and low liability limits to boot. Sometimes I can beat the price and I fix the limits, sometimes I can't.

I don't want to sound too preachy, but this is really important to me. 

Here's my promise; 

if you want an insurance quote, I'll give you one, but it will be at the right limits. My main job is to protect you, your family and your business. I realize that this will cost me some business but it will help me sleep better at night knowing I did everything possible to protect my customers. After all, what's the whole purpose in having insurance anyway?

Got questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. Give us a call at 516-997-9800 or check out our website at www.brookswaterburn.com

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