Auto insurance can be confusing to some. A lot of times, drivers do not know what type of coverage they have or the limits of their policies. Many rely on their insurance agents for the right policies and protection. While some have appropriate insurance coverage, many times there are additional or supplemental coverage options that drivers may not be aware of, such as an umbrella policy.
An umbrella policy is extra coverage and protection that is in addition to primary auto insurance policy. Having an umbrella policy offers protection for you and your family if you cause a car accident. It also, indirectly, offers you coverage if you are seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Considering an umbrella policy after being involved in a serious car accident can be disastrous. Below is helpful information about umbrella policies, the protections they offer and why you should consider them.
Overview of Auto Insurance in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, in order to register and drive your car, you are required by law to purchase and carry auto insurance. The laws in Massachusetts, not only require you to purchase auto insurance, but there are compulsory coverages and limits for the policy. This means that they are required. Some mandatory coverages are for bodily injury to others, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto.
Currently, the minimum amount of coverage for bodily injury to others and bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist is $20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident. Remember, the limits of auto insurance coverage are very important if you are seriously injured in a car accident. In many situations, the minimum amount of insurance coverage is not enough to cover injuries or damages suffered in motor vehicle accidents. But drivers can purchase optional or supplemental coverage (this is in addition to the compulsory ones). These increase the limits of coverage and offer more protection.
About the Umbrella Insurance Policy
Now let’s get to the umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is supplemental insurance coverage. It is sometimes referred to as first-level excess insurance. It provides backup coverage, which frequently covers personal injury (commonly referred to as bodily injury within the auto insurance policies). Typically, umbrella policies come with certain auto insurance requirements. One usual requirement is that drivers have the maximum amount of coverage available for vehicles in order to purchase an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy generally offers coverage of $1,000,000 or more.
So, why is an umbrella policy important? Umbrella policies add another layer of protection for drivers and their families. For example, an umbrella policy can help protect you if you or someone you allow to drive your vehicle causes a car crash that result in serious injuries to another person. If the injuries and damages suffered by the accident victim exceed the limits of the primary insurance policy, the umbrella policy is there to offer additional protection. In some situations, without the supplemental insurance protection of an umbrella policy, the accident victim may seek additional damages (money) from you directly when your auto insurance limits are insufficient to cover the damages. This is generally done through a personal injury lawsuit. If an accident victim is successful at trial and the jury awards damages that exceed your auto insurance limits, you may be personally liable for the amount of the verdict above your insurance limits.
Umbrella Policies Indirectly Help to Protect You If You Are Injured in an Accident
In addition to offering another layer of protection to you and your family if you cause a motor vehicle accident, having an umbrella policy will also indirectly protect you if you are injured in a crash caused by someone else. As stated above, you generally must have the maximum amount of auto insurance coverage to purchase an umbrella policy. This means that your limits for uninsured and underinsured coverage are at the maximum. Thus, if you are seriously injured in an accident caused by an uninsured, negligent driver, you can then seek financial compensation from your own auto insurance policy. With an umbrella policy, you will have the maximum amount of uninsured motorist coverage. This offers you significant coverage if your injuries and damages are significant.
Likewise, having an umbrella policy will also require you to have the maximum coverage for underinsured motorists. So, if you are injured in a car accident caused by a negligent insured driver, but they do not have enough insurance to cover your injuries and damages, you can then seek additional compensation from your own auto insurance policy.
The Cost and Getting Information on Umbrella Policies
The cost of purchasing an umbrella policy is usually modest. If you do not have an umbrella policy and are interested in finding out more about them, you should contact your insurance agent. You can also speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. Lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases, such as motor vehicle accidents, are knowledgeable about auto insurance, including umbrella policies. They have most likely dealt with them in connection with car accident cases and personal injury claims.