Ohio personal injury attorneys represent people who sustained significant injury or passed away as a result of automobile collisions on a regular basis. Their investigations into those matters too often reveal that the at-fault driver has limited or no automobile liability insurance. And then a traumatic situation for an injured Ohioan or that person’s family becomes even more tragic.
As of December 22, 2013, Ohio law requires its drivers to carry minimum automobile liability insurance coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per collision. That new law doubled the liability insurance requirement that had been in effect for 44 years leading up to the long overdue change. With the rising costs of healthcare, Ohioans injured as the result of a collision can still find that the new liability insurance requirement is still inadequately low.
Ohioans should understand that their automobile liability insurance coverage only protects them from any personal liability for damages caused by their actions up to the coverage available to them under that policy of insurance. At-fault drivers with limited or no liability insurance could be held legally responsible for those damages and assets such as homes and cars could be taken away and present and future wages garnished. For families with children, they too could be held responsible if they cause a collision while driving an uninsured or underinsured vehicle.
While insurance costs money, Ohioans benefit from an average automobile insurance premium among the lowest in the country according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.
When determining what liability insurance to purchase, Ohioans should ask about uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage, or UM-UIM insurance. Generally speaking, UM-UIM coverage is significantly less expensive than automobile liability coverage. In the event that an Ohioan is involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver, that UM-UIM coverage creates a contractual obligation from the insuring company to the insured to compensate him or her beyond the liability insurance available from the at-fault party and up to the limits of coverage dictated by the insurance policy. Your insurance agent is not required to discuss UM-UIM coverage, so it is important for an Ohioan to bring to the insurance agent’s attention.
Ohioans should also be sure to ask about medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage is also significantly cheaper than liability coverage and can be used to reimburse an injured insured for his or her out-of-pocket medical expense up to the amount of the coverage selected. Medical payments coverage can be used in conjunction with health insurance to ensure that an injured Ohioan in the midst of trying time during recovery more fully protected financially.
Ohioans should be sure to insure themselves in excess of their assets whether through automobile liability coverage, excess umbrella coverage, or some combination of the two. Ohioans should also be sure to keep UM-UIM and medical payments coverages in mind when purchasing automobile insurance.
The attorneys at Casper & Casper only represent injured people, not insurance companies. Nevertheless, we are available to discuss various insurances that you may consider purchasing. After all, we would much rather find out in the course of any investigation that the injured person carried more than enough insurance to protect both self and family then the tragic alternative.
By Rhys J. Richards
Rhys is a partner with Casper & Casper, LLC and focuses his practice on personal injury matters. He is licensed in Ohio and Kentucky. He can be reached at 513-424-2401.