Understanding how an underinsured policy can help after a car crash

In some serious car accidents, the other driver’s liability coverage may not be enough to pay all of the medical bills, but an underinsured policy may help.

In Massachusetts, drivers are required to have at least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage to protect others in an accident where they are liable according to Mass.gov. Even when a driver is following the law, there may not be enough liability coverage to pay for medical bills after a serious crash. Injuries that lead to hospital stays and surgeries can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. For this reason, many on the road choose to supplement their coverage with an underinsured policy even when it is not required by the state.

Covers when health insurance will not

Most people think their health insurance will cover any medical bills incurred due to a car collision. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes a health insurance provider may seek reimbursement for the bills paid because the company would not have had to make the payments if it were not for the negligent driver. In this case, the company may try to get the minimal insurance money from the at-fault driver's liability policy, which can leave the policyholder scrambling to pay for other expenses.

Even if an injured party's health insurance does cover the medical bills, there will likely still be co-pays and deductibles that have to be met. These costs can add up, and may cause financial strain when the other driver does not have adequate liability coverage.

Covers expenses for a variety of people

Some policies will only cover a single person while others can also cover resident family members, passengers in the insured vehicle and permissive drivers. One important aspect of an underinsured or uninsured policy is that it might cover more expenses than another type of insurance typically does. For example, an underinsured motorist policy may cover the following expenses:

  • Pain and suffering because of collision
  • Lost earnings due to missed time at work
  • Medical bills incurred because of accident
  • Other miscellaneous expenses related to the injury

In some states, this type of policy may even cover property damage. Property damage protection usually only pertains to the policyholder in the case of a two-person accident. In other words, the policyholder's vehicle may be repaired using funds from the underinsured coverage so long as the underinsured person did not flee. If the other driver did leave the scene, there could be other insurance policies that might help pay expenses.

Car accidents in Massachusetts can leave the affected parties drowning in medical bills if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured. It can be beneficial to get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney after a collision that causes personal injury regardless of the insured status of the at-fault driver because it can help those injured better understand the compensation avenues available to them.