Online Auto Insurance: Lawsuit Highlights Underinsured Coverage Issue

Aug 16, 2011, 08:00 ET from Online Auto Insurance, LLC

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A Pennsylvania township had the legal right to reduce underinsured motorist coverage for its police officers, a federal judge ruled last month in dismissing a Pennsylvania woman's lawsuit. The suit had been filed by the widow of an officer who was killed on duty in a car crash in 2009, and it highlights the value of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) and the need to be aware of coverage levels, according to

UM/UIM policies can be purchased from cheap auto insurance companies for relatively little cost, and they are meant to protect consumers in the event they get into an accident caused by a driver who has no coverage or low liability limits that are not enough to pay for all injuries or damages.

The suit was filed after Middletown police Officer Chris Jones was killed by an intoxicated driver during a traffic stop in January 2009.

Widow Suzanne Jones sued Middletown, claiming her husband's rights had been violated when the township lowered its underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance from $1 million to $35,000 without informing him.

Jones claimed that her husband had no opportunity to buy supplemental coverage because he was not informed of the reduction.

But U.S. District Court Judge Joel Slomsky dismissed the suit, finding that the township did not violate the officer's rights by lowering benefits.


Insurance experts recommend that motorists carry at least $100,000 of bodily injury liability protection per person and $300,000 per accident in order to be fully protected in most instances. But Pennsylvania law requires policies to cover a minimum of just $15,000 for the injury or death of one person and $30,000 total per accident. Those amounts can easily be exceeded in a severe crash.

Only eight states have liability minimums that are as low or lower.

Legislation proposed last year in the Pennsylvania State Legislature would have doubled the state-required minimum coverage limits for auto policies, but it was unsuccessful.

To read more about this and other issues related to auto policies, go to where you will find informative resource pages and a free-to-use quote-comparison generator.

SOURCE Online Auto Insurance, LLC