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Attorney Van O'Steen

Going Underinsured Is a Game of Chance You Shouldn't Play

Van O'Steen

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You might think million dollar insurance settlements and jury verdicts are common. They are not.

Your odds of being on either end (payer or payee) of a million-dollar lawsuit are less than your odds of winning the big prize in the Arizona Lottery. These long odds are not good for lottery players. However, they are good for personal injury claims.

You do not want to sue or be sued for a million dollar injury. Claims of this size generally are reserved for those who suffer catastrophic injuries. Money never can adequately compensate for these injuries.

But while million-dollar injuries are rare, claims that exceed minimum levels of insurance coverage are somewhat more common.

A million dollars in liability insurance coverage may be unnecessarily high for most people, but it appears that most Arizonans are seriously underinsured.

Most automobile owners who have insurance carry only the minimum levels of coverage required by state law. The majority of homeowners and renters are no better protected for personal injury claims.

These coverages are inadequate for most people.

The effect of insufficient insurance protection can be devastating. Because marginally higher coverage is so affordable, it is unwise to run even the modest risk associated with having only a minimum amount.

I recommend at least these levels of insurance coverage for all automobile owners:

  • Personal Injury Liability—$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability—$50,000
  • Medical Payments—$25,000
  • Uninsured Motorist—$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident
  • Underinsured Motorist—$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident

Homeowners and renters should have personal injury liability protection of at least $100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident.