How Much Auto Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish

By Perry Salvagne

Carrying minimum limits on your personal auto insurance? In short, DON’T.

The Insurance Department of the State of Connecticut requires owners and operators of personal vehicles to carry minimum liability limits of only $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.  Furthermore, you are only required to carry the same bodily injury liability limits for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, which covers bodily injury to you, your relatives who live with you, or your passengers, if they are injured in an accident with someone who is uninsured, someone who carries low limits, or a hit-and-run driver.

Leaving yourself with insufficient limits in either case could be catastrophic for you and your family in the event of an accident, as injuries and property damage costs could exceed these limits in the tens or hundreds of thousands, and even the Connecticut Insurance Department website states, “drivers are strongly urged to consider higher limits.”

Carrying minimum liability limits does not just mean you may not have adequate insurance to cover the damage to another’s vehicles and property, but also the medical bills in the unfortunate case that someone is injured.

As many vehicles cost more than $10,000, a totaled vehicle loss could end up costing a driver with minimum limits anywhere from $100 to $40,000 out-of-pocket. An accident of that severity could very well mean injuries as well.  Injuries to you, your passengers or those of the other vehicle could exceed minimum limits as well.  Imagine an injury with lasting effects and lingering treatment, or in a worst-case-scenario, a death. Medical bills, legal costs, and lawsuit settlements could tally in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, leaving you and your family in a very troublesome situation.

At the Hodge Agency, we set a company policy to insure clients for personal auto liability at a minimum of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident. We suggest that you contact your insurance agent or carrier and ask about the costs of carrying limits at least that high.

Aside from your personal responsibilities as a driver and your own chance of causing an at-fault accident, an equally terrifying scenario can occur when “the other guy” is to blame and has insufficient limits, or no limits at all. You could be left with no coverage for your party’s injuries above your own insurance limits. For that reason we suggest to our clients that they carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist limits equal to their own. This will ensure that you are not left hanging with the financial responsibilities of another party.

In addition to carrying personal auto liability and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage well above the state-required minimums, we also suggest that our clients carry a personal liability umbrella, to cover those rare but catastrophic losses that exceed your normal limits.  An umbrella can cover you for well above your normal limits, $1,000,000 for example, and for very little cost, so seek cost-free advice from an agent and get adequately protected so you can live and drive worry-free.

To learn more about personal auto insurance, obtain a quote or simply ask an insurance-related question, please feel encouraged to call us at Hodge Insurance, (203) 792-2323. We have agents and representatives able to speak to you in English, Portuguese or Spanish.

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