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When you purchase an auto insurance policy with minimum limits, you may be saving some money up front but you could face costly bills later on. Minimum limits often don't provide enough protection for your valuables and will leave you with out-of-pocket expenses you probably weren't expecting. You should always consult an experienced insurance agent to decide what limits will be sufficient for you. Here are some things to consider when choosing your auto insurance limits:

Medical bills add up. $100,000 may sound like plenty of coverage but it won't go very far if you've injured someone in an accident. You should consider all of the costs including the ambulance ride, hospital stay, tests, and recovery expenses. Since medical care costs have been rising, that means $100,000 will run out even faster. Can you imagine if you had the California state minimum of $15,000 for one person?

Don't think it won't happen to you. In 2014, there were 6.1 million police-reported crashes*, and every one of those people probably thought it would never happen to them. Out of those 6.1 million, 2.3 million people* were injured as a result. The annual cost of medical care and productivity losses related to motor vehicle crashes added up to more than $80 billion**.

Protect your future. Even if you don't own a home or a nice car, you still need adequate protection. When your limits run out, you are still expected to pay what is owed. If you don't have any assets, the money will be taken out of current and future income until your debt is paid. In California, they can take 25% of your income if necessary.

The price difference is minimal. You'd be surprised how cheap it can be to increase your limits. Just because you're tripling your liability limits doesn't mean you're tripling your rate. In reality, it may be only a $50 difference. If you consider that around $50 can provide more adequate protection for you, your family, your home and future income, that's not much extra. Skip that morning coffee every other day and you can easily protect what you value most.

Real claim examples from our trusted partner, Safeco

"Stan" thought he was in drive, but was in reverse and ran into his friend as he moved his vehicle.

His friend sustained a serious fracture to her leg, requiring surgery. Her hospital stay, surgery and all treatment resulted in over $135,000 in medical expenses.

Stan's limits were $100,000, leaving him with a potential of over $35,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. 

"Jenny" struck a 53-year-old pedestrian. The pedestrian was taken straight to the hospital with multiple breaks and fractures and a bruised intestine. He spent multiple weeks in the hospital, including emergency surgery, a chemically induced coma and now has multiple plates and rods supporting his limbs. He's also struggling with memory.

His medical bills have totaled $408,000 so far, not including recovery time.

Jenny's limits were $100,000, leaving her with a potential of hundreds of thousands in out-of-pocket expenses.

If Stan and Jenny had higher limits and a personal umbrella policy, they wouldn't have been left with these massive out-of-pocket expenses. 

Now, how do you feel about the state minimum limits of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident? Contact us today at 559-591-7556 to increase your limits and better protect what you value most.

Sources: *U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 2014 Crash Data Key Findings  **Centers for Disease Control, Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics
Article based on infographic by Safeco

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Posted 10:05 AM

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