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What Is Enough Insurance?

What Is Enough Insurance?

February 14, 2022
By Willis, Willis & Rizzi, Personal Injury Attorneys Akron

The time to figure it out is now – not when you need it.

It is a tough conversation when someone is badly injured or killed and there is very little insurance to cover the mountain of medical bills, the lost earnings, the shattered dreams and the other life altering events that are coming down the road.  In the State of Ohio, $25,000 per person in liability coverage is all that is required by law to be legal to drive. Is that enough coverage for you if you are seriously hurt by another driver?

Concealed carry firearms and permits are a hot topic. I have heard people state that the reason they carry a firearm is not because they expect trouble but that they don’t expect help if there is trouble. So, they are protecting themselves. I ask though, what is more likely, getting into a serious collision or getting into a situation where you would actually pull a gun to defend yourself? I believe the odds are more likely that you are in a collision and need good insurance coverage as opposed to getting into a situation that compels you to pull a gun.

The bottom line is, if you are not insuring yourself for an amount that you believe you are worth, why are you expecting others to do that for you?  If you don’t expect help in a gun fight, why do you expect help in a collision?  Why are you not protecting yourself in this situation?

As an example, we will discuss a recent conversation I had with a client who was hit head on by a lady who went left of center. He was badly hurt. He spent 2 months in a hospital, was finally released home but needs a lot of physical therapy still. He can barely walk with a walker and can’t lift one arm. He is not going back to work and will be applying for social security disability.  His medical bills to date are over $500,000.  The lady who caused the collision has $300,000 in liability coverage. That puts her in a very high category. You could watch the next hundred cars go by and would be hard pressed to find someone with more liability coverage.  Still, it is not enough in this situation.

Her insurer is willing to pay the entire $300,000 limits BUT in exchange they want a full release of the lady who caused the collision.  My client exclaimed that $300,000 was not enough. I asked how much coverage he had to see if there would be any additional coverage available through his insurer. He only had $50,000 in coverage. In Ohio, his insurer gets a credit of the at fault driver coverage, (in this case $300,000) toward their coverage so since $300,000 is more than $50,000 my client’s insurer is not obligated to pay anything.

So, my client is not too happy about the situation. We could file a lawsuit and in a few years get a trial and win a verdict that is turned into a judgment and then try to collect from the lady who caused the collision who by this point would have filed bankruptcy. So, there is very little point in spending more money and time to pursue a judgment that will take years and garner no real results.

If my client had underinsured motorist coverage for say $1,000,000.00 then he would have up to $700,000 available from his insurer. A one million dollar umbrella that provides uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not as expensive as you might think. It is worth asking your insurance agent about this coverage.

But make sure it includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Article by Mark Willis, Attorney