Like most states, Massachusetts requires every person registering a car to have car insurance. Understanding your coverage can be confusing. Knowing what kinds of coverage are included and/or offered by your auto insurance company can help ensure that you can recover your losses if you are involved in a car accident and help minimize associated out-of-pocket expenses.

What is the Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Insurance?

While sounding similar, there are some important differences between uninsured and underinsured auto insurance that every driver should know.

  • Underinsurance is an optional form of coverage that auto insurance companies offer to their policyholders.
  • Uninsured auto insurance protects you against losses caused by another driver who is uninsured. It also protects you against losses caused by unidentifiable or unknown drivers. A classic example of this is where there is a “hit and run”. Massachusetts requires each driver to have a limit of $20,000 per person, and $40,000 per accident. While this is the minimum required, a driver can choose to increase these limits if they wish.
  • Underinsurance provides you with a safety net should a driver at fault not have enough bodily injury coverage to adequately cover your damages. If such is the case, the amount recovered from the at fault driver’s bodily injury coverage will be offset by the underinsurance you have purchased.

What Damages Are Covered?

If you are in a car accident, both uninsured and underinsured auto insurance can be used to apply to expenses that you incurred as a result of such accident. This includes, but is not limited to, lost wages, medical bills, and emotional and/or mental damages.

Is Underinsurance Worth Purchasing?

It is important to keep in mind when deciding to purchase underinsurance that the minimum required coverage for bodily injury to others is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. While any driver may choose to purchase more, there is no way to know what kind of coverage an at-fault driver has before an accident occurs. Thus, you must be aware of the possibility that an at-fault driver may not have enough bodily injury coverage to cover the full amount of your loss.

What Other Kinds of Auto Coverage Should I Be Aware Of?

What is difference between uninsured and underinsured auto insurance policy

Auto Insurance policy with keys and glasses

As an overview, drivers in Massachusetts are required to have the following types of auto coverage:

  1. Bodily Injury to Others
  2. Personal Injury Protection
  3. Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto
  4. Damage to Someone Else’s Property

To read more about Personal Injury Protection specifically, please see our recent blog on the topic.

There are also several optional types of coverage in addition to underinsurance. Some examples are:

  • Roadside Assistance
  • Coverage for Towing and Labor
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Collision Coverage
  • Medical payments
  • Gap Insurance
  • Accident Forgiveness
  • Pet coverage
  • Coverage for Substitute Transportation

Click here to find out more about optional coverage.

Deciding how much car insurance to buy is a personal decision. It has been recommended by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that a driver purchase enough auto insurance to comply with state laws, satisfy your lender, and protect your assets.

The personal injury attorneys at SUGARMAN have decades of experience handling car accident claims, including underinsurance claims. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you may be able to make a claim for damages. If you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your potential claim, please fill out a Contact Form or call the firm at (617) 542-1000.