It’s the New Year. Time to take a moment and check your insurance coverage.
During this time of fresh starts and resolutions, it’s also time to review your insurance policies to be sure you have the right coverage. That applies to all your insurances – from homeowners to life insurance – but let’s talk here about your auto policies. Let’s focus particularly on Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM coverage), a mystery to some but a vital piece of your protection should you be in an accident. To clarify, uninsured motorists have zero insurance – against the law but still prevalent in our state. And underinsured motorists have coverage, but generally not nearly enough.
Consider our stats here in Mississippi. According to bankrate.com, Mississippi is ranked FIRST in the percentage of uninsured drivers here in the U.S. According to their report, almost 30% (29.4%) of all MS drivers are uninsured. Translate that into an unfortunate accident, and that basically means that you have a one in three chance of being struck by an uninsured driver. Yikes. And what does that mean for you? It means there are big limitations to how much you can be compensated by another person’s insurance, even when the accident is their fault. That’s when having the proper amount of uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage on your policy is so important.
Does this get complicated? Sure, because it’s insurance, but I’ll try and clear it up for you here.
By law, Mississippi drivers must have a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of liability coverage. But many accidents result in medical bills approaching $100,000. Let’s say that happens to you – hopefully not in real life, but for discussion here. That $25,000 / $50,000 minimum coverage will still leave you with a hefty medical bill. But if you also have uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage, you can possibly collect from your own policy as well to help cover those unexpected expenses related to the accident, including loss of work and more.
There are specific sets of laws that will apply to your injury claim, whether you have an accident with an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist. There’s even a possibility to “stack” your uninsured coverage if you have more than one insured vehicle in your household. Although the process is a bit complicated as a policy holder, it’s absolutely your right to pursue that coverage. Sometimes it’s complicated or the insurance company will deny a claim. And if so, this is when calling a trusted attorney who knows this process makes sense.
The whole reason we have insurance is to provide protection following something unexpected, especially when it’s through no fault of our own. Knowing what is in your policy and how it will affect you if you are ever in an accident is key, far more important than what you pay monthly as a premium. Use the start of 2022 to make sure you have enough coverage and will be protected should an unfortunate accident happen this year.
I hope your new year starts out with peace of mind that you are properly covered in the unfortunate circumstances that you or your loved one has an accident. No one can anticipate being in an accident, but we can prepare for the results of one, if we take a little time and effort to make sure we have the proper coverage. If you have any questions about your coverage feel free to call your insurance agent or my office.