In order to register a motor vehicle in Massachusetts, the owner must purchase minimal levels of automobile liability insurance. In Massachusetts, these minimal coverage levels are referred to as “compulsory” coverage limits. These coverage limits are always delineated on a “per person/per accident” basis. $20,000/$40,000 bodily injury limits, for instance, means that in any one accident, there is $20,000 of total available coverage to an individual person injured by the negligent operator, but only $40,000 (total) available to all parties injured by the negligent driver in that same collision. In Massachusetts, a vehicle owner only needs to carry $20,000/$40,000 of bodily injury liability coverage to register and operate a vehicle on the roadways of the Commonwealth. The vast majority of Massachusetts drivers purchase this level of liability coverage when choosing automobile insurance. Why? Because it is the least expensive! What this means, however, is that in the event you are injured by a negligent driver with compulsory limits, the negligent driver’s insurance company will only have $20,000 available to compensate you for ALL of the harm that flows from the collision including your medical bills, impairment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
That guy texting on 93 South on your way to work this morning? Compulsory bodily injury limits! That lady watching Youtube videos on her iPhone while merging onto 128 with a large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts in her hands? Compulsory bodily injury limits! The teenager who, despite best intentions, is driving home at 80 MPH to make 10:00 PM curfew? COMPULSORY BODILY INJURY LIMITS! You cannot rely upon other people to insure you and your family against the potentially devastating consequences of an accident.
If you sustain injuries in anything more than a simple fender bender in Massachusetts, the likelihood that the negligent driver carries compulsory bodily injury limits is high, and $20,000 of liability coverage will likely be insufficient to address the full scope of your damages.
So, how can you protect yourself and your family from the low limits of bodily injury coverage required by the state of Massachusetts? What is the actionable step to take to prevent this harm from happening? Purchase and include adequate “underinsured motorist coverage” and “uninsured motorist coverage” on your Massachusetts Automobile Policy directly from your own automobile insurance carrier! Aside from defensive and cautious driving, this is the only way to protect you and your family from underinsured and uninsured negligent drivers IN ADVANCE of an automobile accident in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage can be purchased from your own automobile insurer. In the event you are injured by a negligent driver who only carries the compulsory bodily injury liability limits discussed above ($20,000/$40,000), and the damages you incur exceed $20,000, then you can make a claim for the difference against your own policy. This coverage insures you against the reality that the majority of automobile operators on Massachusetts roadways are not sufficiently insured to protect you and your family from harm in the event that they cause an accident.
How do I know how much underinsurance I am presently carrying?
Each Massachusetts automobile policy comes with what is called a declarations page. This page sets forth the policy limits of the various types of insurance coverage that you carry on your own policy. These coverage selections are generally found on the first page attached to your policy. If you do not have it, you can request it from your automobile insurer or, as is more and more the case these days, you can access it online through your automobile insurer’s account page. The declarations page of your policy will declare your coverage (and its associated cost) for each type of coverage that you carry on your own automobile policy including your bodily injury coverage (in the event you cause harm to others), property damage (in the event you cause property damage), and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (in the event you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver). These coverages will appear in the per person/per accident format set forth above.
If, after reviewing your uninsured/underinsurance coverage, you find that it is either too low (or absent) you should call your insurance carrier and increase your limits in order to ensure your safety and protection on the roadways of Massachusetts. If your underinsurance coverage limits mimic the compulsory bodily injury limits of $20,000/$40,000 then you will have NO underinsurance available in the event you are injured by a negligent driver in Massachusetts because that driver will likely also have $20,000/$40,000 of compulsory bodily injury coverage. If, however, you had $100,000/$300,000 of underinsurance available then you would have $80,000 ($100,000-$20,000) of available coverage available through your own automobile policy.
Action Step: Secure sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your Massachusetts automobile insurance policy today! It will help to protect you and your family in the event of a car accident in Massachusetts.
Harriman Law pursues injury claims for victims of automobile negligence throughout Massachusetts. If you have been injured in a Massachusetts car accident and need a Boston personal injury lawyer to help you or your family recover your damages, please contact Harriman Law for a free consultation today.