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Hitting Miranda Cosgrove’s Bus: A Liability Insurance Fable

August 12th, 2011     Noyes Hall & Allen

If your household is like mine, you have an iCarly fan. Teens and tweens across America were distraught by news that iCarly’s star Miranda Cosgrove’s ankle was broken in a bus accident, causing her to postpone her popular “Dancing Crazy” summer tour. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

How Much Auto Liability Insurance Should I Buy?
That’s a question we hear often. Many people who shop for Maine auto insurance have purchased “split liability limits”, which contain separate limits for bodily injury and property damage. On split limits policies, Bodily injury is also subject to a “per person” sub-limit. If you have one of these policies, your liability coverage might say 100/300/50. This means you have $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, subject to a $300,000 maximum per accident; and $50,000 property damage.

What If You Cause a Serious Accident?
Let’s pretend that you were responsible for the accident that injured Miranda Cosgrove, and you had those common Maine liability limits shown above.

There were 5 people on the bus. Would $100,000 be enough to pay for any one person’s medical bills? Would $300,000 be enough for all the bus’ occupants? Maybe. Maybe not. What if our fable had a commuter bus full of people? Uh-oh.

And that’s just the injuries from one vehicle. What about the damages from lost income due to the postponement of Miranda Coscrove’s tour? What about any other vehicles that may have been involved?

Who Will Defend Me Against a Liability Suit?
This fable has a knight in shining armor! Your auto liability insurance pays defense costs – regardless of whether the suit is groundless, and in addition to the limits of your policy. As long as you have liability limits remaining, your insurer will defend you.

What if You Don’t Have Enough Liability Insurance?
If you’re legally liable for damages, and your insurance isn’t enough to pay them, two bad things happen.

  • Your defense coverage stops. That means you have to pay for your own legal representation to defend yourself.
  • Your assets and future earnings are fair game. You could be forced to turn your home, investments, savings or other assets into cash to pay the damages. If that’s not enough, the court can garnish your future wages.

That’s a Fable. What Are the Chances?
Fortunately, they’re slim. But, celebrity sightings in Maine are common, especially in summer.  And, you might be unlucky to meet a celebrity in the worst way possible – by accident.

Remember, you don’t buy insurance to protect you from the probable – you buy it to protect your assets from financial disaster.  Buy enough to protect your assets and your future earnings. We generally recommend against split limits, and often suggest that our clients consider Maine personal umbrella insurance. For custom advice about your situation, or a Maine auto insurance quote, contact Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541 – and live happily ever after.

 

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