For the past few blogs, I have been giving insider tips on how to maximize your auto insurance. Tips such has lowering your comprehensive deductible, making sure you have rental reimbursement coverage, and why medical payments coverage on your auto insurance are important and can save you money, time, and headaches when the need arises.
This week’s tip can potentially save you thousands of dollars for just a small amount of money. The answer- raise your liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist limits.
The state of Wisconsin minimum liability limits are $25,000 for the injury or death of one person and $50,000 for the injury or death of 2 or more people.
So what does that mean for me? That means that if you only carry the state minimum liability limits and you injure someone who has hospital bills, loss of work, and pain and suffering totaling $125,000, then you will be on the hook for $100,000.
“No problem! I carry more than the state minimum limits! I carry 100/300 coverage!” Good for you! In that example, you would then only owe $25,000 out of pocket.
The state requirements for Uninsured Motorist coverage is also only $25,000/$50,000. Uninsured Motorist coverage is the coverage that helps pay YOUR medical bills if the other driver is at-fault in an accident and does not carry any auto insurance. Do you know what the state requirement for Underinsured Motorist coverage is? Zero. There is no requirement for that coverage.
And what does that mean for you? That means that if you injured in an accident by someone that does not carry auto insurance, you would only receive $25,000 to help pay your medical bills (hospital, physician, physical therapy, etc.) and lost wages. If that at-fault driver only carries the state minimums and you are injured- then you would also only get $25,000 for your bills.
Here is how to protect yourself from exposure of thousands of dollars for just a few dollars. Increase your bodily injury liability on your auto insurance to as high as you can. The difference in premium between a lower liability limit to a high liability limit can be as low as $10-$15 per month (everyone’s rating criteria is different). That extra $10-$15 per month can potentially save you thousands of dollars in a lawsuit in the future.
I also recommend increasing your Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage and making it at least as much as your Bodily Injury coverage. Remember- this is the coverage (money) that you would get in case you are hit by someone that is not as responsible as you and does not have as much insurance as you do. Believe me, there are more people on the road driving around with either no coverage or state minimums than you think! The difference in premium is very low between a low amount of coverage and something more adequate for you. Pennies on the dollar, as they say.
When most people think about auto insurance, they tend to think of the small picture. They think premium (their monthly bill or what they pay every six months) and about getting their car repaired if it is in an accident. I urge you to think of the big ticket items- hospital bills, pain and suffering lawsuits, causing the death to the bread-winner of the family- or a child. These events are way more expensive than repairing the bumper on your car or windshield. When these liability events happen, they can be $100,000, $250,000, and even $1 million dollar costs.
Don’t let one of these tragic events ruin your life. Increase your bodily injury, Underinsured, and Uninsured limits today. You will be glad you did.