What is the Most Important Auto Insurance Coverage in NJ?

– I wanted to explain to you the most important auto insurance coverage that you should have that’s the least explained, but the most important insurance in New Jersey. That insurance is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Insurance agents do not explain this insurance fully, leaving you potentially in trouble with not enough insurance in cases involving serious injuries. State law in New Jersey requires that insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as an option, up to $250,000 for each person and $500,000 in coverage for each accident for bodily injury. Insurance companies also have to offer a $500,000 single limit option for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You can have these limits even increased further by purchasing an umbrella policy. Why have uninsured motorist coverage? Uninsured motorist coverage under your own insurance policy is for that situation when a person who has no insurance at all, causes an accident with you. If this occurs, you then pursue your own insurance company under your policy for the damage caused by that uninsured person. Uninsured motorist insurance also covers the situation of the hit and run driver where you were never able to identify the vehicle that hit you then then took off. It’s the hit and run or phantom vehicle situation. In 2015, the Insurance Research Council reported that 13% of motorist carry no insurance at all. That means you have a one in eight chance of being hit by someone with no car insurance at all, thus if you only have minimum uninsured motorist coverage and are seriously injured, you and your family could be financially devastated because there is no money there to recover. The percentage of uninsured drivers has been on the rise also. In 2010, for example 12.3% of drivers had no insurance and that’s going up. Why have underinsured motorist insurance coverage? Besides the problem of persons carrying no insurance, most drivers do not have sufficient liability coverage if they injure someone. Underinsured motorist insurance coverage is insurance that covers you when someone hits you that does not have enough insurance for the full amount of damage or injury caused. This insurance is so critical, because most drivers have very low liability coverage in New Jersey. Liability coverage on your own policy is important, but it does not protect you if someone without enough insurance hits you. If someone hits you with only a $15,000 policy in insurance and permanently injures you, this will not be enough clearly to take care of you and your family. If, however that same person hits you, under that example, and you have another $500,000 in underinsured motorist coverage to go after, at least you have that extra cushion of money to protect you and your family. All insurance companies in New Jersey have to offer as high as $500,000 in underinsured motorist coverage and there are ways to obtain more. Some insurance companies offer higher limits and you can also obtain higher limits on both underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage, by purchasing an umbrella policy. Remember, that your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage cannot be higher than your liability coverage. Your liability coverage should also be high to cover the situation when you are at fault for the happening of an accident. Insurance is truly meant to protect those serious situations, so only carrying a minimal coverage makes no sense. Our office will review your car insurance declaration page for free, showing your coverages. I feel passionate about making sure you have enough insurance and that people out there aren’t driving out there without this protection. If you have any questions about your car insurance, or are involved in an accident involving personal injury, please feel free to give our firm a call or email us. Thank you.

Paul Whisler

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