Virginia drivers have to carry liability coverage. They also have to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Recently, state lawmakers passed a bill that will change the way that certain coverage works. They also increased the amount of coverage required from drivers, although those changes will not take effect for more than a year.
Your underinsured motorist protection will be one of the kinds of coverage that will shift most dramatically when these changes take effect. Understanding what will happen to your coverage can help you make the right choices to better protect yourself.
State law currently requires a coverage overlap
When you pay for $100,000 worth of underinsured motorist protection, you expect that your policy will pay up to $100,000 toward your losses following a crash. However, the existing rules for this coverage allow the insurance company to include the other driver’s coverage in that $100,000 worth of protection.
If the other driver has $50,000 worth of coverage and you paid for $100,000 worth of underinsured motorist protection, your policy will actually only cover $50,000 worth of your losses as opposed to an additional $100,000 beyond what the other driver provided. When the change in law takes effect on July 1, 2023, that rule will change.
Your insurance company does not automatically get to apply the coverage of the other driver toward the total policy limit for your underinsured motorist protection. In other words, you will finally have the right to the full amount of coverage that you paid for in addition to whatever amount of coverage the other driver carries.
The insurance company might ask you to waive that right
When you go to purchase a new policy or renew an existing one following this law change, the insurance company might ask that you waive your right to the new coverage. If they ask, be wary that the provider might try to manipulate you into answering the way that they want.
Specifically, they might offer you a discount if you agree to apply the old rule to your policy and allow them to take credit for the other driver’s coverage. The additional payment required to ensure you get the full amount of coverage you purchased will certainly prove worthwhile if you ever have catastrophic crash injuries.
Insurance coverage frequently requires review
What you carry for insurance right now may not be enough, especially if you’ve had the same policy for several years. It might be a good idea for you to review your coverage and to increase what you carry in light of these upcoming legal changes.
Learning more about Virginia’s insurance rules can help you protect yourself in case you ever experience a motor vehicle collision.