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What Auto Insurance Coverage Do I Need to Protect Myself in the Event of an Accident in Massachusetts?

Automobile insurance will protect you in the event that you are sued for your alleged negligence. There is Compulsory Bodily Injury Coverage under Part 1 but you would be well advised to choose Part 5, Optional Bodily Injury Coverage. However, there are two other coverages that you can select which will protect you and your family as well as guest occupants in some circumstances. Those coverages are Part 3, Bodily Injury Caused By an Uninsured Auto, and Part 12, Bodily Injury Caused By an Underinsured Auto. In the accompanying video blog, I stress the importance of having enough insurance under Parts 3 and 12. I also point out that you cannot have higher limits under Parts 3 or 12 than you have under Part 5. The bottom line is that you need enough coverage and limits of $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident are not enough.

An “uninsured auto” is defined as a hit and run vehicle, a stolen vehicle or if the driver has failed to obtain valid insurance despite the requirements in Massachusetts. Think of the following situation: You are hurt by such a car and entitled to a significant personal injury settlement. If, however, you have opted for the minimum limits under Part 3, you will find that there is barely enough money to pay for medical bills and/or liens, let alone enough money to compensate you.

An “underinsured auto” is defined as an auto where the limits of the at-fault vehicle are not enough to compensate you for your damages. Our law allows you to be compensated from your own vehicle’s policy in that circumstance. However, you are only able to collect if your limits in Part 12 are more than the limits of the at-fault driver. Think of the following situation: You are hurt as badly as you were in the above paragraph but your limits under Part 12 are so low that they do not exceed the bodily injury limits of the negligent party. In that unhappy circumstance, you will have nowhere to turn for your compensation, including money for pain and suffering.

In light of the sad scenarios in the above, it is no wonder that I have written to clients for more than 25 years to be protected by having sufficient auto insurance. I am not an insurance agent. I do not want to increase your premiums just to give you a larger bill to pay but I have to be honest about what I have seen all too many times. The result is an unhappy one: serious personal injuries leading to debt, loss of income, medical bills, pain and suffering and next to no recovery.

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