For many unknowing Connecticut residents, shopping for auto insurance is easy: simply identify the minimum car insurance requirements, and then call around for the lowest rate. Although this approach might save time and money while shopping for insurance, only purchasing the minimum motor vehicle insurance coverage can have disastrous consequences in the event of a car crash- particularly if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
Fortunately, making informed decisions regarding “uninsured motorist coverage” can help ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage regardless of the other driver’s insurance policy.
Under Connecticut state law, all motorists are required to carry minimum liability insurance limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Liability insurance generally covers the accident victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Drivers failing to meet these minimal requirements potentially face criminal charges, fines, and suspended registrations. Despite these requirements, however, an alarmingly high number of drivers on our roadways do not carry any insurance. According to a 2011 survey by the Insurance Research Council, approximately 10% of Connecticut drivers are uninsured. It is therefore vital that all Connecticut drivers obtain their own insurance coverage in the event that an uninsured driver causes a serious car accident.
In the event that the driver who caused the car accident either does not have insurance, your own coverage is very important. Fortunately for Connecticut residents injured by uninsured drivers, Connecticut also ordinarily requires that drivers carry “uninsured motorist coverage” (also referred to as “UM”). As opposed to the liability coverage explained above, which serves to protect others on the roadway from your negligence, this coverage protect the policyholder from the negligence of uninsured drivers.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) provides coverage for people injured due to the negligence of uninsured drivers. This coverage can also be invoked if the negligent party is unknown, such as if a “hit and run” driver causes an accident and then flees the scene prior to being identified. In either event, the injured party simply makes a claim with their own insurance company, which “stands in the shoes” of the negligent party to cover the policyholder’s losses.
Declining UM is a tremendous mistake because this coverage protects the driver and any other vehicle occupants from the negligence of uninsured car drivers. To make sure that you and your family have adequate insurance, review your policy limits with an attorney to determine what type of coverage you would have in the event of a motor vehicle accident. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact a personal injury attorney to determine what options for compensation you have based upon your UM coverage.
-Eamonn S. Wisneski, Esq.
Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at (860) 316-2741. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.