How well do you know your automobile insurance policy??
One of my first cases as a young attorney involved a tragic automobile accident where I represented the estate of a University of Illinois student from China, who had perished in an automobile collision. The other 4 people in the car survived with massive injuries, including a girl with a fractured pelvis. This was a hit and run and the later detained defendant did not have insurance and was out on parole for previous felonies. There was a $100,000.00 under insured motorist policy to be split 5 ways. I found myself, through a translator, attempting to explain to the Chinese parents of this young girl, who was their only child, that they would recover very little monetarily as a result of their daughter's death. I was pregnant with my own daughter at the time and have since learned two things. First, as an attorney who works in personal injury, no matter how much you attempt to disconnect emotionally, there are cases that will haunt you every day throughout the litigation process and long after its conclusion. Second, I learned how crucial it is to have good automobile insurance coverage.
When purchasing automobile coverage, we tend to focus on liability coverage, which means how much coverage a person has if they injure another person or person's property. The state minimum for automobile coverage in Illinois is grossly insufficient as it requires a person to only have $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per incident of coverage. This means, that if there are multiple people in the car, the maximum amount that can be recovered by all injured people combined is $50,000.00 Rarely do we ask, what happens if I am injured? Because we cannot control the amount of insurance that drivers whom we share the roadways with may (or may not) have, there are ways to protect yourself.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you directly. This coverage pays if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto liability insurance. This coverage, in effect, takes the place of the liability insurance that the other driver should have purchased but did not. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the other driver is at fault and whose limits of liability are lower than the damages you sustained. Your underinsured motorist coverage will pay you an additional amount up to your policy limits. In Illinois, your underinsured/uninsured policy limits are equal to your liability insurance.
Taking into account that a trip to the emergency room can easily cost $15,000.00 if you have to have complex imaging, it is important to be properly insured. I am not an insurance salesperson, but as a lawyer who has worked with countless automobile policies and recoveries for my clients, I have gained a bit of knowledge in the area. I strongly urge everyone out there to get a substantial Umbrellas insurance policy coverage plan.
A personal umbrella policy is a type of insurance that provides liability coverage over and above your automobile or homeowners policy. It can also provide additional coverage for your own injuries resulting from an under insured or uninsured driver in a collision. Usually, the amount of money to include this type of coverage is ever so minimal compared to the value it has if you are in a serious accident. Call your insurance agent or company today if you don't have this coverage or are unsure of what sort of coverage you have.