How Much New Jersey Automobile Insurance Coverage Should I Buy? (And What Kind of Policy Do I Need to Protect My Family?)

Buying automobile insurance can be confusing. Blume Forte offers these tips:

  • Buy as much liability coverage as you can reasonably afford.
    • New Jersey liability coverage is what your insurance company will pay to someone else in the event that you are held responsible for an automobile accident. Obviously insurance needs vary from person to person, but check with your agent and make sure you purchase enough liability coverage to protect your valuable assets in case you are sued.
    • Additional liability insurance need not be costly.
  • Always buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage equal to the amount of your liability coverage.
    • Uninsured motorist coverage is paid to you by your automobile insurance company if you are injured by an uninsured car or if you are a victim in a hit and run accident.
    • Underinsured motorist coverage is paid to you by your insurance company if you are injured by a driver who does not have sufficient coverage to pay for all of your injuries. This coverage is also not costly.

Effective March 22, 1999, the New Jersey State legislature made vast and sweeping changes regarding the types of automobile insurance policies available to you as a consumer.

Subsequent to March 22, 1999 once it is necessary for you to renew or purchase an automobile policy there will be three types of automobile policies you can choose:

  1. A “mini policy”
  2. The “limitation on lawsuit” policy
  3. The “no limitation on lawsuit” policy

If you purchase a “mini policy” you can choose liability limits between $0 and $10,000. The mini policy basically prevents you from bringing a lawsuit in the event you are injured as a result of an New Jersey automobile accident even if you are not at fault. You save a few dollars, but in the event of serious injuries in an accident, you may lose a great deal of money because you are prevented from going to court.

“Limitation on Lawsuit” The limitation on lawsuit automobile insurance policy restricts a your right to bring a lawsuit against someone what has injured you or their insurance company unless you sustain one of six types of injuries:

  1. death, dismemberment or loss of a fetus
  2. a “significant disfigurement or significant scarring”
  3. a displaced fracture
  4. a permanent injury within a reasonably degree of medical probability

“No Limitation on Lawsuit” This automobile policy gives you the right to bring a lawsuit against the other party to the accident and their insurance company, regardless of the severity of the injury.

  • We recommend that when choosing your New Jersey automobile insurance policy you should purchase the “No Limitation on Lawsuit” option. This policy will protect you and your family under any and all circumstances in which they may be injured as a result of an automobile accident.

As the “Mini policy” and “Limitation on Lawsuit” policies severely limit and sometimes prevent you from bringing a lawsuit in the event of personal injury, you should consider what selecting one of these types of policies, at minimal cost saving, does to your ability to protect you and your family from serious injury. By making the selection of the “Mini policy” or “Limitation on Lawsuit” policy, you will significantly reduce your right to be compensated for injuries, even when the other driver is totally at fault.

  • If you choose the “Mini policy” or “Limitation on Lawsuit” policy, you open up the possibility of never having a jury hear your case. A Judge can dismiss your case if the judge feels the injuries do not meet the “threshold” injuries specified by the new Statute, thus taking away your right to a jury trial.
  • Similarly, even if your case goes to jury trial, the jury can dismissal your case at any time for the same reason. As a result, Blume Forte anticipates that automobile insurance companies will not offer reasonable settlements to individuals who have selected the “Limitation on Lawsuit” option and the “Mini policy”.
  • By selecting the “Mini policy” and/or the “Limitation on Lawsuit” policy, you may be decreasing, if not eliminating, the possibility of obtaining a relatively fast, out of court settlement. True, these types of policies do afford some cost savings. However, these savings seem to come at the “cost” of giving up legal protection for you and your family. New Jersey drivers have a decision to make when choosing automobile insurance policies for themselves and their families.

Think carefully before choosing because your decision determines under what circumstances you and your family may or may not file for financial compensation against a negligent driver. In the event you wish to consult one of our New Jersey car accident attorneys regarding the best automobile insurance policy for you and your family please call us to schedule a free consultation at your convenience.