Betsy and Ross just purchased their first home. It is small, not too far from their jobs. They saved to put twenty percent down and took a mortgage for the balance. They have done most of the cleaning, painting and minor repairs and are looking forward to finishing the last projects.One Wednesday, Betsy was on her way home from work when an uninsured driver ran head-on into her car. Betsy broke her right wrist and strained her neck and shoulder. The air bag caused a big gash above her left eyebrow. Betsy will need wrist surgery and will be off work for weeks.Ross and Betsy were very worried about the financial impact of the accident on their already tight budget. The accident left them with large medical bills and the couple count on Betsy’s income to make ends meet.In reviewing their options, the couple was happy to learn that their automobile insurance policy is adequate to get them through this trying time. Their policy contains liability, collision, medical payments, and uninsured motorist coverage.Collision coverage
will pay to replace or repair their car and pay for several days of auto rental while that happens. Without this coverage, Betsey and Ross would be with out a car.Medical payment or med pay coverage
pays for medical expenses incurred as a result of a vehicular collision. Betsy and Ross have $10,000 of medical payments coverage. With this coverage the couple will be able to pay medical bills immediately and keep the bill collectors at bay.Uninsured motorist (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) coverage
compensates accident victims for the injuries and losses sustained in collisions caused by drivers with no or inadequate insurance coverage. Ohio does not require that insurers sell uninsured motorists coverage but Betsy and Ross were fortunate to have an agent who encouraged them to purchase UM and UIM coverage. They also had foresight to purchase enough coverage to fully compensate them for their losses.While Ohio requires that all drivers have liability insurance, too many Ohioans ignore the law and drive without any automobile insurance. Others drive with minimum or low limit policies that may not fully compensate people they injure. For example, a state minimum limits policy would provide Betsy at most $12,500 in compensation. This is barely enough to cover her emergency room bills and not enough to cover surgery and lost income.Betsy can not help with the house projects. She will miss weeks of work and is facing surgery and physical therapy to regain use of her wrist. She will be left with a scar on her forehead. Losses could easily reach $100,000. To cover a loss this large Ross and Betsy need at least $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.We never plan to be injured and can’t possibly know how bad our injuries will be if the unthinkable happens. Automobile insurance protects those we hurt and our own assets when we make driving mistakes. A complete policy also protects us and our assets from uninsured drivers.Uninsured motorist coverage is adequate only if it will compensate for your expenses, lost wages, present and future injuries after an accident with an uninsured motorist. You need enough coverage to prevent financial ruin if the unthinkable happens.The cost of insurance goes up only marginally as the amount of coverage increases. Motorists are often surprised at how much coverage they can afford to buy. Fortunately Betsy and Ross purchased $100,000 in coverage. Had they purchased a minimum or low limits policy low limits policy they would be facing financial catastrophe, including foreclosure and bankruptcy.At Cubbon and Associates, we recommend that all drivers try to carry at least a half million dollars of coverage. At the very least, ask your agent for quotes in high amounts. In over 57 years of practice, our firm has never seen a situation where a person had too much insurance available but we have, sadly, often see cases of too little.Kyle Cubbon is a personal injury attorney and partner at Cubbon and Associates a Toledo Law Firm providing legal services to injured persons. 419-243-7243. www.cubbon.com.