In Massachusetts, it is mandatory by law for drivers to possess auto insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the rules.
It is estimated that one in eight drivers nationally lack car insurance. Furthermore, even those who do have insurance may only pay for the minimum coverage.
Fortunately, the only way to protect yourself from underinsured and uninsured drivers is to purchase underinsured (UIM) and uninsured (UM) motorist coverage.
MA Laws on UM/UIM Coverage
Drivers are required to purchase UM coverage to protect against hit-and-run motorists and those with no insurance. Although Massachusetts is considered a no-fault state – meaning drivers must first turn to their own car insurance provider to cover losses – motorists may step outside this system when the injured person incurs at least $2,000 in reasonable expenses and car accident injuries that result in permanent or debilitating disfigurement, broken bone, or significant loss of hearing or sight.
UM coverage can pay for injuries to people protected under your policy, such as family members in other cars and passengers in your insured vehicles, resulting from a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist. In addition to covering medical expenses, it may also cover lost income, as well as pain and suffering.
On the other hand, UIM does the same thing but for at-fault drivers who only carry minimum auto insurance. Your policy would pay for damages above the at-fault motorist’s bodily injury coverage amount, up to the limits of your UIM policy.
- The at-fault driver has a bodily injury limit of $20,000, the minimum required by law.
- You carry a maximum of $100,000 per person in UIM coverage.
- The total amount of your injuries and lost wages equals $60,000.
- Instead of being stuck with only $20,000 from the at-fault driver, you can recover an additional $40,000 from your own auto insurer, for a total of $60,000 – full coverage of your losses.
Another advantage of UIM coverage is that it doesn’t only apply to collisions which occur while you’re in the car, but also in the event you’re walking or bicycling and get struck by a vehicle. UIM benefits cover these damages as well.