The insurance you forgot you had (and that you need more of)

In Maine you are required by law to insure your car with liability insurance coverage. Liability coverage is insurance that will pay for any injuries or property damage you cause to other people as a result of an accident that was your fault.

What people often forget is that every automobile insurance policy in Maine automatically also includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as well. What is it? Your uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event you are injured in a car accident by an uninsured motorist. For example, if another driver rear-ends you at a stop sign, injuring you, and that other driver has no insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage will step in and provide insurance coverage for you. Instead of being potentially left with huge medical bills, lost wages and other damages from the accident, your own insurance company pays you as if the other driver had insurance.

In Maine the minimum uninsured motorist coverage in every policy is $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident. This means that the most your insurance company will be required to pay you is $50,000 and if there were any other passengers in the car up to an additional $50,000 for them. What if your injuries are more severe? Tough luck.

That's why it pays to increase this coverage, at least to $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident. Better yet, bump up your policy to $300,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. I think if you talk to your insurance company you will find that the extra cost is minimal and it may be a lifesaver if you are the unfortunate victim of a serious collision with an uninsured driver.

Well that's uninsured motorist coverage, what is underinsured motorist coverage? Underinsured motorist coverage provides extra insurance coverage when you are injured through no fault of your own due to an accident with a driver with only a small amount of insurance coverage.

For example, say you were driving along Main Street in Winthrop when, out of the blue, someone blows through the stop sign at Highland Avenue, "T-boning" you and putting you in the hospital for weeks. Suppose that reckless driver only had minimal liability insurance coverage of $50,000 and your hospital bills and lost wages alone amount to $100,000 (not unheard of in this day and age).

If you had underinsured motorist coverage of $500,000, your insurance would make up the difference between the $50,000 minimal coverage for the reckless driver and the $100,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Without the underinsured motorist coverage, you would be left having to foot the bill for that $50,000 difference and there would be nothing for the incredible pain and suffering you had to go through as a result of the collision. Yikes!

Again, like uninsured motorist coverage, increasing your underinsured motorist coverage is cheap and is usually done automatically when you up your uninsured motorist coverage. There is just no good reason not to do it.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protect you from the increasing problem of uninsured and underinsured drivers in Maine. Increasing your coverages here is cheap and makes good financial sense.

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