Teenage Drivers and Insurance Coverage: What Do You Need to Know?
Author: William Clifford Rambo, Esq.
It's undeniable that there's a stereotype that teenage or young drivers are poor drivers and more prone to accidents. This can be for a number of reasons: infamous teenage rowdiness or simply a lack of experience when it comes to driving, handling, and local roadways.
Unfortunately, there's another danger that teenage drivers can potentially pose to you and your family. That danger is the possibility of being underinsured.
Teenagers tend not to have the same insurance coverage as adults, on average. That's very likely because they don't have their life fully established yet and thus cannot afford the same security, such as automobile insurance, that older generations may have.
Therefore, what happens if you are in an accident where a teenage driver is the one at fault?
Even if he does have insurance, you may be looking at a minimum policy ― in Pennsylvania, that's $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. If you're seriously injured, including with potentially life-changing damage, that means that the most you'll get from the tortfeasor (the one at fault) is $15,000. I'm sure that's not an appealing prospect to anyone who values their financial security.
Fortunately, there is a cheap and reliable solution to this problem of underinsured drivers: underinsured motorist coverage, or simply "UIM."
UIM is a type of coverage offered by your own automobile insurer that works like this: in the event that you are involved in an automobile accident that is the fault of someone else, and where you exhaust all of the tortfeasor's liability policy, you can then be eligible to go after your UIM benefits through your automobile insurer. This provides a supplemental source of funds where the person who caused you injuries didn't have enough to compensate you. The greatest part? It's cheap. It's sometimes very cheap. In looking at my own policy right now with Nationwide, I can tell you that I have purchased $100,000/$300,000 in UM and UIM benefits. This is only costing me a fraction of what my bodily injury liability and property damage liability benefits are ― and those two protect others, not me.
Uninsured motorist coverage works much like this, but it instead compensates you in the event that the tortfeasor has no automobile liability insurance. These two benefits usually come together. Lastly, it's important to note that you can purchase UM/UIM coverage up to the same amounts as your bodily injury liability limits. You can also elect stacking for UM/UIM, which means that you multiple the UM/UIM benefits by the number of cars on your policy.
Again, all of this is typically much cheaper than other types of coverages, and I've never seen an automobile insurer who doesn't offer them.
The fact of the matter is that, in a car accident, you're only going to reliably recover funds from one of two places: the tortfeasor's insurance or your own coverage. Between these two, it's clear that there's only one that you have any control over. Make sure that you and your family are protected from the worst possible scenario.
William Clifford Rambo, an associate in the firm, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2014. Prior to that, he was a 2011 graduate of DeSales University in Center Valley, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and forensic psychology. If you are in need of legal help request a Free Consultation.