The Most Dangerous Rhode Island Drivers: The Uninsured Motorists
WHY ADDING UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE TO YOUR AUTO POLICY IS AN AFFORDABLE, SMART IDEA
It is an unfortunate fact that most people—75% of Americans—will be involved in at least one car accident at some point in their lifetime. The insurance industry estimates that the average driver will actually have three to four car accidents. When a driver is determined at-fault for an accident, his/her insurance covers the other parties’ injury expenses and property damages, up to the policy limit they purchased. When the at-fault driver doesn’t have or dropped their insurance and has no viable personal assets to pursue (often the case if he/she doesn’t carry insurance)—the innocent pedestrians, drivers and passengers they harmed can be left with a financial nightmare. When this happens the unfortunate victim can be faced with numerous medical and prescription bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life and many other types of damage from small to catastrophic.
The chance of another driver failing to carry insurance is higher than most would think. A staggering seventeen percent (17%) or more of Rhode Island drivers carry no auto insurance. That means if you are in a car accident, there is a 1-in-5 chance the other driver has no insurance—a scary thought. Rhode Island packs 750,000 licensed drivers and 800,000 registered vehicles into its 1,045 square mile land area. Using industry figures, that means there are approximately 127,500 drivers on Rhode Island roads without any insurance at all!
Rhode Island is one of forty-nine states (New Hampshire being the only exception) that requires its drivers to carry liability insurance to help pay for injuries to other drivers and/or passengers and damage to someone else’s property, if found at-fault for an accident. The minimum coverage limits that must be purchased in Rhode Island are $25,000 per person/$50,000 total per accident for bodily injury caused to other persons and $25,000 per accident for property damage caused to another person’s property. In a perfect world, every driver would be insured before getting behind the wheel, but that is simply not the case.
What Can I do to Protect Myself Against Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists?
Being the victim of another driver’s negligence is traumatic. This stress is compounded if you discover the at-fault party is uninsured or only has minimum coverage and you are severely injured. This can be partially or fully avoided by adding uninsured motorist coverage to your own insurance policy.
How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Typically Cost?
In Rhode Island, uninsured motorist coverage is optional. However, the attorneys at John Reilly and Associates recommend all drivers add it to their policies. We have handled a number of cases where our clients have been seriously injured in accidents caused by uninsured—or underinsured—motorists, and the existence of an uninsured motorist policy can make all the difference in the ability to cover bills and make the client whole.
According to Greg Troy of Cross Insurance in East Providence, RI—the cost of Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) coverage (which includes underinsured coverage) depends on several factors, with basic $25,000/$50,000 UM coverage costing about $100 to $300 per year. As may be expected, better drivers tend to get better prices whereas those in the assigned risk pool do not fare so well. Costs also vary from company to company and increase with the number of cars insured on the same policy. In Rhode Island, all insured operators must be given the opportunity to purchase UM coverage every time their policy coverage renews or changes. Our attorneys urge you to call your insurance agent for a quote on adding UM coverage, which is likely to be affordable.
The bottom line is that we have seen far too many clients come in lacking UM coverage and it is too late to do anything about it after an accident has occurred. Furthermore, UM coverage is there to protect you when you drive in other states and Canada so it is not just something that will help you in Rhode Island. We urge you to look into adding this right away and wish you happy motoring and peace of mind.
Alex Asermely with John Reilly, John Reilly & Associates (your “Legal Strike Force”) at www.lawyers-online.us – June 5, 2015