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November 12, 2018
In Connecticut, drivers are required to have a minimum amount of liability car insurance -- $25,000 for bodily injury, per person per accident, and $50,000 for bodily injury, total per accident. As such, there are many Connecticut drivers that choose this minimum amount of coverage over a much more comprehensive, but only slightly more expensive, policy. The 25/50 policy is wholly inadequate to compensate an individual with a significant permanent injury or death from a motor vehicle accident. It is even more problematic if there are multiple individuals injured in the same accident that need to share in this limited policy. Importantly, there are people driving illegally in Connecticut without any insurance.
In order to protect against these underinsured or uninsured motorists, drivers can purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage. As part of an automobile insurance policy, it provides some protection in the event of a catastrophic injury in a motor vehicle accident when the individual who caused the accident does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to pay for the injuries and other losses. Most insurance carriers will allow drivers to purchase a maximum of $1 million dollars in UM/UIM insurance coverage on a primary automobile.
Two additional ways to protect against Connecticut’s uninsured/underinsured motorists are through:
- An umbrella policy with UM/UIM coverage
- Conversion insurance
Designed as secondary insurance, an umbrella policy provides excess coverage above and beyond homeowners and auto insurance policies. It has underlying insurance requirements so that drivers must have a certain amount of auto insurance and homeowners insurance coverage as a condition of being approved for an umbrella policy. However, an umbrella policy alone does not protect you from Connecticut drivers with little or no insurance coverage. You must purchase UM/UIM coverage on the umbrella policy. Not all umbrella insurance carriers will offer UM/UIM insurance coverage on an umbrella. The insurance carriers that do offer it generally provide a maximum of $3 million dollars in additional insurance coverage as a purchase option.
Conversion coverage is an option that insurance companies must offer you by law. With UM/UIM conversion coverage, the insurance company must pay the full amount of coverage and is not permitted to reduce this coverage by any amounts paid by the negligent driver’s auto policy.
The bottom line is that the safest course of action is to be fully insured in case of a serious automobile accident.
In Connecticut, persons injured in a serious auto accident have up to two years to file a lawsuit and also have two years to file a suit for property damage, such as compensation for vehicle repairs. Failure to bring a lawsuit within this time frame will prevent any recovery regardless of the merits of the case.
Joaquin L. Madry
Silver Golub & Teitell LLP