What “Full Coverage Insurance” Really Means

What “Full Coverage Insurance” Really Means

Early in any motor vehicle accident case, we ask our client about their own auto insurance coverage, because in most car crash cases, some aspect of their coverage may benefit them. Often clients respond, “Don’t worry, I have full coverage.”

Most people have the understandable but mistaken belief that “full coverage” somehow means they are fully covered, so they feel a false assurance that their insurance coverage is adequate to meet their needs. Unfortunately, far too often this isn’t the case.

The term “full coverage” relates to the categories of coverage on an auto policy, not the amount of coverage, or put more precisely the applicable policy limits. With full coverage, you may be able to have your car fixed in most situations, but you may be wildly exposed to risk if you are seriously injured by an uninsured driver or a driver with the exceedingly low minimum limits of insurance of $25,000 per person. Many of our clients have medical bills over $25,000 by the time they first leave the hospital.

It is important to make sure your medical payment (med pay) coverage and your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits (UM/UIM) are high enough. If you look at your policy declarations, and I wish you would, the UM/UIM section will have 2 numbers. It may be $25,000/$50,000 or $50,000/$100,000, or $250,000/$500,000, or some other amount. The first number is the limit of coverage per person, the second is per occurrence.

If you have four people in your car, are hit by an uninsured driver, are all injured, and the policy limits are $50,000/$100,000, there would be up to $50,000 available for any one person, but no more than a total of $100,000 available for all four people. This is likely to be inadequate.

It is important to have a good agent who will take the time to explain what your coverage means, listen to your particular situation, and make recommendations to protect you and your family.

For most folks, I’d recommend UIM limits of $250,000/$500,000. For high-wage earners, additional coverage is a good idea. Similarly, for folks with a high net worth, it’s smart to carry a large liability umbrella, because we are all human and any one of us is capable of causing a serious accident. If your own insurance limits are inadequate, a seriously injured person may have little choice but to seek to recover from your personal assets or garnish your wages.

For all of these reasons, please do not fall for the “full coverage” fallacy. Talk to a good agent about your policy and your needs. If you need help finding a good agent, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help.

And remember, you can’t control who hits you in a car accident and what kind of coverage they will have. The only way to protect your family is to have sufficient UM/UIM coverage.

Have more questions about the consequences of a car accident, truck accident, or other motor vehicle accident in Illinois, Call Josh Rohrschieb, Attorney at Law now!