Author: Ryan Waite, CRM, CIC
When I graduated from college and was cut off from the insurance side of my “allowance” from my parents (their auto policy), I didn’t know the first thing about insurance. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I distinctly remember a phone call to my insurance agency in which I begged for lower rates without any regard to my coverage. I realize now that a few extra dinners of Ramen Noodles would have been worth having the right coverage in place. Luckily I learned my lesson through my current profession and didn’t have to learn it the hard way.
Unfortunately, many people learn the hard way due to the number of drivers who don’t have insurance. In Wisconsin, over 16% of drivers on the road are uninsured. Do you ever vacation in Florida? One in 4 Florida drivers does not have insurance. Furthermore, just because a driver has car insurance does not necessarily mean they carry enough; drivers carrying the state minimum required coverage by “naming their own price” would barely cover a few hours in a hospital.
We are inundated with tragic stories through mainstream media and social media nowadays and it would be hard-pressed to find someone that hasn’t been affected or doesn’t know someone who has been affected by an auto crash. Maybe it was a family of 5 that is burdened with horrific medical bills because of a drunk driver without insurance. Or a child who now faces a lifetime of difficulty after being struck by a texting driver. Even taking a ride in a bus or taxi service that you don’t realize is uninsured until the horrific accident occurs. These stories magnify the important of adequate coverage that will ensure you and your loved ones are protected. The specific coverage that can protect you from irresponsible drivers is called Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Liability.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Liability comes into play when someone is involved in an accident and the person who caused it either doesn’t have any insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for all of the injuries, physical therapy, future income lost, etc. that the accident inflicted on others. It would also come into play as a victim of a hit-and-run (in a vehicle, while riding a bike, or as a pedestrian), leaving you with nobody’s insurance policy to collect against…making it an “uninsured” motorist claim.
In Wisconsin, the state minimum for liability coverage on your auto insurance is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident. I’m sure you’ve seen medical bills recently, which almost makes you think, “why even bother?” with this low of liability limits.
To protect our clients’ families, their assets and future earnings, our agency won’t offer a quote with liability limits lower than $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident. I personally believe that any professional agent that is looking out for their clients’ wellbeing will offer the same strict recommendations. We also highly recommend adding a Personal Umbrella Liability policy including Excess Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Liability which can give you an extra $1,000,000 (or more) of coverage. An umbrella is the best bang-for-your-buck in the biz; depending on the insurance carrier and your underlying policies, a $1,000,000 umbrella could be as little as an extra $10 per month.
Even my broke-recent-grad self could have afforded $10 per month if I knew how important it was.
About Ryan Waite
A native of Madison, Ryan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Psychology and minors in Business and Criminal Justice. He started his career as a retirement plan manager at Kelly Financial in Madison.
Ryan joined Neckerman Insurance Services in 2010, specializing in business and personal insurance. He has earned the Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations which are nationally recognized as important credentials for insurance agents, benefiting his agency and clients.
Ryan is an active part of the Madison community, currently serving on the Board of Directors of CATCH (Community Around The Children’s Hospital). In addition, he has sat on committees with the Middleton Chamber of Commerce, 4 years on the Board of Dane Buy Local, and is also a member of Downtown Madison, Inc., Wisconsin Technology Council, Atlas Providers and Madison Area Connectors.
In his free time, Ryan enjoys attending Badger sporting events, traveling and playing sports. Ryan ran his first—and only, according to him—marathon in October of 2013, the Chicago Marathon.