Although automobile insurance can be quite expensive in New Jersey, in order to protect yourself if you are ever in an accident, you should maximize coverage for uninsured motorists on your policy (it may be listed on your policy as “UM” coverage).This coverage may be as low as $15,000 and as high as $500,000. Your goal should be to purchase as much as possible. Why? It is arguably the most important part of your automobile insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is the only protection you have if you are hurt by someone who does not have insurance.
You may think that everyone has liability coverage in New Jersey, however, some drivers purchase what is called a basic policy. Basic policies have no liability coverage which means that there is no coverage if a person runs a red light and broadsides you or hits you as you are crossing a street. How are you compensated for your out-of-pocket costs and all your pain and suffering? You have to make a claim under your own policy but you are limited to the amount of uninsured motorist coverage (UM benefits) you purchased. This may be as low as $15,000 which is not much at all if your injuries are severe or if your out-of-pocket losses are extensive.
A driver who causes an accident may be uninsured for other reasons: the vehicle may be stolen in which case the insurance company who insures the car will deny coverage or the insurance company may have canceled the policy for lack of payment. In either case, there may be no coverage for your out-of-pocket expenses, your lost wages, your pain and suffering, your future suffering or disability. The only claim that would be available is a claim under your own policy. Even though you did nothing wrong, you are limited to the amount of your coverage when the negligent driver has no insurance. Protect yourself from negligent uninsured drivers by maximizing the amount of uninsured motorist benefits (UM coverage) you purchase.