How Much Auto Insurance Should I Buy?

By: Davis Gray, Case Manager, Personal Injury Division

Some of our toughest cases we have at Bailey and Oliver are cases where insurance does not meet the needs of the injured party. It is relatively common that we find cases where the direct and indirect costs of an injury are not fully provided for by either party’s insurance. This can leave a victim of an injury in a hole financially, further limiting their life prospects from what has already been lost. Injuries can consume a victim’s entire livelihood, and the last thing most people want to worry about in these cases is money. Much of the time, unfortunate outcomes regarding lack of funds from insurance could have been avoided by understanding auto insurance policies and purchasing the socially optimal amount of coverage.

When buying auto insurance, there are some major factors you will want to look for to protect yourself in the event of an injury. A few of these are Medical Payments (or Personal Injury Protection) coverage, UM (uninsured) coverage, and UIM (underinsured) coverage. These coverages are meant to provide for you in the event that the responsible party’s insurance (or lack of insurance) cannot. They may provide funds to reimburse for your medical bills, your current damages, and your future damages if your injury is significant enough. Many drivers are unaware of these coverages and do not know if they are in their policy or not. It is always wise to review your policy and add these coverages, especially considering the additional cost for them is usually not excessive. Our firm posted a related blog on UM and UIM coverage that discusses what these coverages are, which is linked below.

When looking at the provisions of your insurance meant to provide for others in the event that you are responsible for the wreck, you should approach buying with the understanding of what is capable every time you enter the road. We have seen lives lost and damaged beyond repair countless times. Even drivers with clean records make mistakes. It is shocking how unpredictable some of our cases would seem, and it becomes increasingly tragic when insurance is not sufficient to manage the injured party’s damages. The families of these victims are grief-ridden and often express that their eyes have been opened to the purpose of insurance. This brings about the idea of social responsibility. Shirking coverage to save a couple dollars a month now could lead to catastrophic outcomes for someone else. We have dealt with opposing parties that are filled with grief because their actions to trigger the event were worsened by their inability to right their wrongs with the person they damaged. Something you should consider when buying liability coverage should be “what if it were my family?”

Car wrecks and injuries are more common than most people would believe, and they can happen in an incredibly unpredictable fashion. In general, it is wise to be risk averse and purchase more coverage rather than less. We recommend adding the coverages mentioned above as well as making sure your liability coverage is not the bare minimum (look for coverages more than 25k per individual). This not only will benefit you and your family in the event that something unpredictable and tragic happens, but it will also provide a safety net to the community. A significant amount of grief (from all parties) can be avoided by simply understanding your coverage and doing what is socially responsible to protect yourself, your family, and your community. 

For more on UM and UIM coverage, see our related blog:

https://www.baileyoliverlawfirm.com/news/2021/mar/02/what-umuim-auto-coverage/