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Recently, some car insurance companies have been mentioning “split limit” coverage in their TV ads.  This is nothing new.
Split limits refer to separate liability limits for each person injured in an accident, each occurrence, and for property damage caused in that accident.  Property damage coverage is just that, the amount of coverage you have for property damage you may cause.  If your property damage isn’t sufficient you may be left owing the other diver money.
The liability limits for bodily injury are much more problematic.  A typical insurance policy provides 100/300 coverage, but it can be lower or higher.  This means that you have coverage up to $100,000 per person injured, and $300,000 for all people injured in the occurrence.
This may sound like a lot of coverage, but it is relatively easy to incur medical bills for initial treatment far in excess of $100,000 for a serious injury.  If you are liable for injuring someone, and have $100,000 per person coverage, any amount more than that awarded by a jury would be your responsibility to pay.
The “per occurrence” limit is just that, the amount of coverage your insurance company provides to compensate all people who are injured in an occurrence.  So if you injure one person in a car accident, and fair compensation to her would be $100,000, this coverage would be sufficient.  If there are 3 people injured, each one would have available compensation of $100,000 (so $300,000 total).  The problem is if there are more than 3 injured, there is only $300,000 available to pay them all.  If fair compensation to each one is $100,000, you may be left without complete coverage and be responsible for any additional amounts.
If you are the one hurt, you have no control over how much coverage the other driver has to compensate you.  But if the other driver has insufficient coverage, you can look to your own “Underinsured Motorist” coverage to make up the difference.  Most insurance policies provide the same amount of underinsured (UIM) coverage as you have in liability coverage.  So if your coverage is 100/300, you’d have up to $100,000 to compensate you if the other driver has less than that.
But if your injuries are truly significant, $100,000 may not even pay your medical bills.  That’s why we encourage people to buy as much coverage as they can afford, and to actually talk to an insurance company agent to get the proper amount of coverage for your particular needs.  You need this insurance to cover you in a worst case scenario situation.  Additionally, you’d be surprised how inexpensive this extra coverage can be.
Liability limits in policies come in many sizes, for instance 25/50, 50/100, 100/300, 250/500 and even higher.  You want to make sure that you carry enough so if you are injured, you’ll be covered.  If you can’t work for 6 months, how much would you need to make to pay your bills?  These are all issues you should think about when buying the proper amount of coverage for you and your family.
And remember, if you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, call MacCloskeyKesler & Associates at 815-965-2000.  We can explain everything to you.  Put our many years of experience to work for you.