I want to focus now on the property damage aspect of uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage. Virginia requires uninsured motorists’ coverage when you purchase a policy with minimum limits of 25/50/20. The last number of $20,000.00 is the amount of your uninsured motorist property damage coverage. I previously covered the importance of uninsured motorists’ coverage to protect you for injuries sustained in an accident with someone that has no insurance. Now, I want to talk about protecting yourself for damage to your vehicle by an uninsured motorist.
What does uninsured property damage coverage get me?
If you do not carry collision coverage and are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is 100% at fault in the accident, uninsured coverage would be your only avenue of recovery for the damage to your vehicle. The key here is that there is no negligence on your part in the accident. Any negligence on your part would bar your recovery from collecting under this coverage.
Following the above example, $25,000 is the total amount your insurance company will pay for damage to your car. As I’ve noted in earlier articles, if your vehicle is worth more than $20,000.00 and is a total loss (again no collision coverage), this coverage limit is inadequate. Additionally, this coverage carries a mandatory $300.00 deductible.
What does this cost me?
Increasing both your liability and uninsured motorist’s coverage limits may not be as expensive as you might think. While your liability limits protect the other party, it is equally important to protect yourself. There are more uninsured motorists on the highway than you think and many states, including Virginia, do not carry requirements to possess auto insurance coverage.
Protecting yourself with underinsured property damage coverage is almost as important as uninsured motorists’ coverage. Underinsured property damage coverage protects you in case the at-fault driver, does not carry enough insurance coverage limits to fully compensate you for the damage to your vehicle. Many drivers that carry liability insurance carry the minimum limits required by the state of Virginia. If you drive a vehicle that is worth more than $20,000.00, you may consider purchasing underinsured property damage coverage. Or, consider carrying significant collision coverage. While it is not a requirement in the state of Virginia, it is generally an inexpensive coverage to carry.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your insurance policy is up to date and has enough coverage. At Osterbind Law, many clients come to us with inadequate coverage. By the time we point out where coverage could be improved and how it would have helped in their accident, it’s too late. I can only make recommendations after the fact. See your agent or drop me an email at [email protected] along with a recent copy of your declarations page and I will be glad to respond to you with some recommendations. We are here when you need us.