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Picking Proper Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

  • November 05, 2021
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Having enough auto insurance is critical and driving without insurance is against the law. Unfortunately, despite drivers knowing about the importance of auto insurance, many continue getting behind the wheel without insurance. Even for those who purchase insurance coverage, many do not purchase enough. Many auto accidents in New Jersey involve either uninsured or underinsured drivers.

There are several reasons why New Jersey roads are full of uninsured and underinsured drivers. For instance, some people cannot afford to pay for insurance. In contrast, others refuse to take seriously the importance of paying for adequate insurance and choose to drive uninsured or underinsured.

In New Jersey, all motorists are required to carry basic car insurance. However, it is not recommendable to purchase New Jersey's basic liability coverage. This is because this coverage provides very little protection and leaves drivers vulnerable. Under the basic policy, a driver must carry;

  • $5,000 for property damage liability, and
  • $15,000 per person or accident and up to $250,000 for certain injuries, for Personal Injury Protection.

Coverage for bodily injury liability is not included in the basic policy, but $10,000 coverage for all persons per accident is available as an option. Notably, New Jersey's basic auto insurance policy does not include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured/Uninsured motorist coverage is available when one purchases the standard car insurance policy. The standard policy provides more coverage for New Jersey drivers and is a favorite among many. It includes a variety of coverages, and the limits are not as low as the limits that come with the basic policy. The coverages under the standard policy are;

  • Bodily injury liability - A minimum of $15,000 per individual and $30,000 per accident and a maximum of $250,000 per individual and $500,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability - A minimum of $5,000 per accident and a maximum of $100,000 or more for property damage liability.
  • Personal injury protection- A minimum of $15,000 per person or accident and up to $250,000 or more for specific injuries (regardless of selected limit).
  • Underinsured/Uninsured motorist coverage up to certain amounts for liability coverage.

Because of the tough economic times, an increased number of drivers carry the minimum amount of liability coverage required by state law. For example, this could mean having bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 property damage liability coverage. Considering car accidents involving other vehicles often exceed $5,000 in property damage and injuries that individuals suffer in auto accidents often exceed $15,000, it means that an increased number of drivers are driving around underinsured. Because of this, it is recommendable for drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage.

With UM/UIM coverage, if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your insurance company will step in and pay the costs the at-fault driver should have paid you. However, it is crucial to note that if the driver who injured you is underinsured, you can collect payment from them and your insurer. For instance, suppose you suffer $150,000 in losses, and the at-fault driver has $30,000 in insurance coverage. In such a case, you can recover the $30,000 from the at-fault driver and $120,000 from your insurer. However, before making any crucial decision, make sure you consult a skilled attorney.

Picking Proper UM/UIM Coverage

The extent of how much UM/UIM coverage you can carry and how much you can recover after an accident is dependent upon your policy limits. If you choose to go with the state’s minimum liability coverage, it means you’ll have to get a small amount of UM/UIM coverage. It is recommendable to get UM/UIM insurance coverage at the highest possible amount you can afford. This means getting liability coverage at the highest possible amount you can afford.

According to experts, it is recommended for drivers in America to purchase insurance coverage that allows for bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident so they can protect their assets against lawsuits. Suppose you have a UM/UIM coverage that provides a small amount of coverage, and an underinsured or uninsured driver ends up creating liability of $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident. In that case, it means there will be a massive gap between your coverage and the costs or monetary losses you could be left with. Generally, purchasing a high amount of UM/UIM coverage can end up saving you money in the long run. It is recommended to get at least $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage. Nevertheless, before deciding the amount of UM/UIM to purchase, it would be best for you to consult a professional.

Contact Us for Legal Help

Do you have questions about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage? Do you need help with your New Jersey uninsured or underinsured motorist-related accident case? Contact Selem Antonucci Law to schedule a consultation.

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