Part of buying auto insurance is to decide how much liability coverage you want to buy. Most are sophisticated enough to understand what can be lost in a second and buy enough to cover their assets. It is to the others that this blog is dedicated.
Dear Others: When you come into an insurance agency, call, email or go online for a quote, they give you a choice of liability limits. Usually the lowest choice is the minimum amount in the state in which you live. In the state of Washington, the minimum amount you can buy and be legal is 25/50/10. No matter where you go for a quote and no matter what the amounts are, the numbers always go in the same order:
The first number is how much you are buying to fix the
bodily injuries in the accident you just caused:
The second number is how much you are buying, in total for
this accident, for bodily injury:
(four people in
the car, injured very badly….50,000 won’t stretch far)
The third number is how much you are buying to fix the
property you just damaged, ie the car you hit, the lamp post, etc:
(you just hit a Mercedes Benz, sticker for cheapest: around 60,000)
You do the math
Now, Others, please understand: you think, in buying the state minimum, when you have an accident, that is what you have, so that’s all they will take. NOT SO MUCH. With state minimums, that is just the start.
If the accident you caused is bad enough, your 25/50/10 will be gone in seconds. Once that is gone your personal assets (your house, belongings, car, motorcycle, boat, etc) are next. You liquidate what you currently own. Then they can (and will) start attaching your future earnings by garnisheeing your pay check.
For an accident of any size, state minimum liability coverage is the illusion of insurance. It disappears in seconds.
If you damage it, they will take it. Total your assets and make sure you can afford 25/50/10.