Can I get sued after an auto accident? Why you may still be exposed even after your auto insurance policy protects you.

Not sure what liability limits you have on your auto policy, or even why you have those limits? Well, you should! Recently, some clients have asked if they can be sued for damages that occur after being involved in an accident. The answer is yes!

Your auto insurance policy will provide coverage for any liability you are exposed to (here is where it gets interesting) up to the limits you selected in your policy. Remember these are limits that you have chosen. New York State mandates that the minimum liability coverage carried is $25,000 if one person is involved in an accident and $50,000 for two or more.

Now say for example you are involved in an expensive accident and multiple people are injured, as well as damages to multiple vehicles and property. Likely, damages will be very high. You could be looking at a lawsuit against you for way over the $50,000 minimum that your policy will protect you for. This is where you can become exposed to a lawsuit. Lawyers can come after your personal assets, garnish and freeze your wages in an attempt to satisfy the balance of the suit.

If you have assets to protect, additional properties, a sum of money in the bank, etc.- you should make sure you take a look at the limits of your policy and make sure that enough coverage is there to protect your personal assets. Many clients also choose to purchase umbrella (extra liability) coverage to protect them even better.

How do you know how much is enough? Well that is a good question, and one that working with an agent can help you with. How much liability insurance you should carry is a direct relation of what assets you have to protect. If you make on average, $35,000 per year and rent an apartment, you should be fine with $50,000/$100,0000. However if you make $75,000 or more and own a home, it is a very good idea to carry at least $100,000/$300,000 in liability coverage. Use this net worth calculator for a good idea of where you stand.

Additionally, if you are someone who has a substantial amount of assets to protect, liability limits of $250,000/$500,000 or more are recommended. On top of that, we also suggest purchasing a $1M umbrella for protection on all liability claims.