Every chance I get, I try to encourage my clients, friends, and family to make sure that they adequately protect themselves with the right insurance. Before I became a lawyer, I was like most people, and thought that "full coverage" meant I was completely protected for any type of car accident, including an accident that was my fault. I quickly learned that is not the case.
It is very important to know how much "liability" (aka"bodily injury" coverage) that you have under your auto insurance policy. Liability coverage covers you if you cause an injury accident. Ohio requires that all drivers have at least $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident in liability coverage. However, this a very low amount in the big scheme of things, and I strongly recommend that you purchase significantly more coverage.
Think about this scenario: Imagine that you accidently cause a bad crash on your way home from work one day. Let's assume that the other driver suffered multiple bad fractures, required a couple of surgeries, and had an extended hospital admission plus a lengthy recovery process thereafter. Let's also assume that you have $100,000 in liability coverage on your auto policy. In this scenario, the value of other driver's claim against you will likely far exceed the $100,000 in liability coverage that you have under your policy, meaning that you can be held personally liable for all damages over the $100,000 threshold. The hospital bill alone is this scenario would likely be about $100,000.
So my friendly piece of advice to you is buy good insurance. And make sure that you understand what you are buying. I think you will be surprised to find out that a $1 million umbrella liablity policy is usually very cheap. Please note that this is not supposed to be a free plug for insurance agents everywhere. It's just that we at Rourke and Blumenthal have seen first hand the devastating consequences of a motor vehicle accident. Having good insurance not only protects the at-fault driver for his/her mistake, but it makes sure that the other driver is adequately covered for his/her injuries.
Next time, we will talk about unisured/underinsured motorist coverage.