Connecticut law requires only a minimum amount of liability coverage. In order to register a vehicle in Connecticut, the owner only has to present proof that there is in effect an automobile liability insurance police of $20,000 per person; $40,000.00 per accident and $10,000.00 in property damage coverage. These limits are severely inadequate to compensate severely injured persons.
To understand how liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage works to protect an injured motorist, it is necessary to understand the purposes underlying each different type of coverage.
Liability Insurance protects the negligent driver and owner of a vehicle for injuries caused to another person by the negligent operation of the driver/owner’s vehicle up to the coverage limit of the policy.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance provides protection to the driver and passengers of a vehicle (and others defined in the policy) if they sustain injuries and damages due to the negligence of a driver or owner of a vehicle that does not have liability insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance provides protection to the driver and passengers of a vehicle (and others defined in the policy), if their injuries and damages exceed the liability limits of an insured negligent driver who does not have enough insurance.
Connecticut Law requires that the uninsured/underinsured motorist limits of a policy be equal to the liability limits of the policy, unless a reduced amount is requested.
Lower or Higher Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Limits. Although an insured can request a lesser amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it is not wise to do so. Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage protects you, your passengers and family members. This type of coverage provides you with additional money to pay for your damages in the event that the negligent party is uninsured or does not have enough insurance to cover your losses. Additionally, the cost of his coverage is generally substantially less than the premiums charged for liability coverage.
Connecticut Law also allows you to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage which exceeds the limits of your liability limits. The law allows you to purchase it in an amount that is double your liability limit. You can also purchase what is known as conversion coverage to increase the amount you would be entitled to in this situation.
Property Damage Not Covered. Uninsured Motorist coverage does not provide for property damage coverage for your automobile. Any property damage to your vehicle must be paid for by the other negligent party’s insurer, or through your own collision coverage.
Paul A. Morello, Jr. is the author of “The Handbook of Connecticut Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Law”. He has handled numerous such claims and has spoken at numerous seminars on the topic. The publication can be downloaded free of charge here.
If you are injured through the fault of the other driver, contact Donovan & Morello, LLP for a free consultation.