Are You Really Covered? Part 5: Optional Bodily Injury to Others
We continue with our series on auto insurance in Massachusetts with Part 5: Optional Bodily Injury to Others. Of the twelve parts, only the first four are compulsory and many drivers mistakenly believe that if they have all four compulsory parts, they are “fully insured.” This is not the case. We offer our thoughts on why we think the optional parts of a Massachusetts automobile insurance policy are often worth the extra expense.
While Part 1, “Bodily Injury to Others” is compulsory in Massachusetts and provides coverage limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, Part 5 is the section of your automobile policy that allows you to increase the coverage under Part 1 to protect you and members of your household who legally operate a motor vehicle. Part 5 can provide you with coverage limits as high as $250,000 per injured person and $500,000 per accident, regardless of the number of persons injured. As we have previously reported in this series, the minimum compulsory coverage limits of $20,000/$40,000 are often insufficient to protect you in the event a claim or lawsuit is filed against you.
The importance of raising your coverage limits under Part 5 cannot be overstated.
In addition to increasing your optional bodily injury coverage limits, Part 5 also provides you with additional coverage in the event you cause an accident and injuries to one or more persons while driving outside of Massachusetts. If you were to only maintain the compulsory Part 1 coverage but opted not to purchase the “optional” bodily injury coverage under Part 5, and you were found at fault for a motor vehicle accident, say, in New Hampshire, you would have no coverage for bodily injuries caused by you, as Part 1 coverage only applies to accidents occurring in Massachusetts.
Finally, should you elect to purchase coverage limits of $250,000/$500,000 under Part 5, you would also become eligible to purchase an “umbrella” policy, providing you with $1Million or more in bodily injury coverage. Having umbrella coverage with higher limits is extremely wise given the frequency of high value jury verdicts where serious and permanent injuries are involved.