Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Protection

It is estimated that 4% of Massachusettsdrivers are uninsured, compared to a nationwide average of 1 in 7 drivers (14%). To put that figure into perspective, there are 4,645,705 licensed drivers in the state of Massachusetts, meaning there are approximately 186,000 uninsured drivers on the road. Uninsured and under-insured motorists represent a clear and present danger to drivers everywhere, placing the burden of medical bills and property damage on the drivers they strike. Fortunately, Massachusetts has mandated that drivers have uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is optional, but is very cost effective.

Uninsured motorist protection is Part III of compulsory insurance in a Massachusetts auto policy.  This section of an auto policy protects you from injury if a driver whose policy has unknowingly expired or who does not have auto insurance has struck you. The uninsured motorist section explicitly covers only bodily injury and not resulting property damage. Uninsured motorist also provides for hit and run accidents if the at fault driver cannot be identified. The compulsory limits for this coverage are $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.

Under-insured motorist protection is optional for Massachusetts drivers, but it is highly recommended that drivers purchase this additional coverage. Many motorists take the high route and purchase insurance with minimum liability limits to save money because they believe it is unlikely they will be at fault in an accident. They transfer the burden of the cost of insurance and damages to drivers who purchase adequate insurance by skimping on their coverage. A driver is considered underinsured if they inflict bodily damage on you in an accident and their liability limits do not cover the damages that result. For example, consider a driver who is hit by another and incurs $100,000 dollars in bodily injury damages. The at fault driver’s policy states that his or her bodily injury liability limit is $20,000 and the insured driver’s limit is $50,000. The underinsured driver’s policy will cover the first $20,000 in bodily injury and the insured driver’s policy will cover the difference between his or her $50,000 limit and uninsured driver limit, $30,000. The additional $50,000 can be covered by your health insurance company or can be recovered through a lawsuit and a lien on the under-insured party’s future earnings, put in place by a judge. 

Uninsured motorist protection mandated by the state of Massachusetts is simply not enough. As common as accidents seem, people will purchase the bargain insurance with minimum limits to save of a few dollars because they think they will never be at fault in an accident. When this driver hits you, you might never recover the damages that result. You can purchase uninsured and under-insured motorist protection for nearly approximately $5 per month. That $5 per month is significantly less than the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that you can be subject to if you are not carrying this coverage and have been struck by another driver with inadequate coverage. 

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