Will raising my automobile liability insurance coverage be a good idea if I think someone is going to sue me?

Asked over 1 year ago - Marlboro, NJ

I got into a minor motor vehicle accident with a Postal Service worker (in a USPS truck) several months ago and she claimed to have injuries since she went to the hospital right after the accident. Because of a possibility of a lawsuit, should I raise my liability coverage now? In other words, if I had a $100K liability coverage at the time of accident and increase the coverage to $500K today, and the other party decides to sue me 2 months from now, will I be covered at $100K or $500K?

Attorney answers (13)

  1. Gregory S. Shields

    Contributor Level 11

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The date of the accident, not the date of the lawsuit is what matters. Increasing your insurance limits now will not have any impact on that accident, but it is probably a good idea in the future. If you have multiple vehicles or an umbrella policy there is the possibility that coverage could stack.

    This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does... more
  2. Olga V. Blotnis

    Contributor Level 13

    14

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Raising your limits after the fact is not going to help you; the same way that if you didn't have insurance at the time, and you got it after, it would not cover the incident. You will be covered only at limits that you had at the time of the collision.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not take... more
  3. Sean Michael Patrick

    Contributor Level 16

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your coverage depends on the coverage you had AT THE TIME of the subject incident. Raising or lowering your limits will not affect your coverage for a prior incident. Best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    13

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    Answered . For future accidents, you can bump up your limits. Consider getting an umbrella policy.

  5. Larry Alan Apfelbaum

    Contributor Level 13

    14

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    Answered . the coverage in effect on DOA controls. But it is never a bad idea to review you coverage limits, especially medical payments and un/iunderinsured motorist coverage to protect your self.

    I am licensed to practice law only in Illinois. Any advice that I render is for general information purposes and... more
  6. Scott Douglas Camassar

    Contributor Level 16

    14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you're concerned, you probably don't have enough coverage. Raising it won't help on this case but will protect you in the future.

  7. Robert W Rubinstein

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    12

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    Answered . Unfortunately, it is the insurance coverage you had on the date of the accident that governs, not the date of the lawsuit. Increasing your insurance limits now will not have any impact your coverage for the accident which will be limited to the $100,000.00.

    This response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. For more information on our... more
  8. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    11

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    Answered . $100,000.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.
  9. Anne Marie Breslin

    Contributor Level 11

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As the other attorneys wrote, you cannot retroactively increase your coverage for this accident.

    It is always a good idea to have enough insurance for any possibility to protect your assets and it's a good idea to review your "uninsured motorist" and "under-insured motorist" coverage which provides *you* with more coverage if you are injured in an accident with someone who took the minimal policy of insurance.

    Many people in this economy are selecting the minimal coverage of $15,000 and people with serious injuries are not being properly compensated.

    Also, to save money, some insurance carriers will offer you a policy where you have 100K in liablity coverage but only 25K or 50K in uninsured motorist or under-insured motorist coverage. You should be sure you are getting as much coverage as you're offering to others.

    The postal worker many only collect workers compensation benefits without ever making a claim against you for injuries, if the injuries were minor. But if they do elect to sue, they have two years to file a lawsuit, and it's more likely that it will happen 1-2 years from now than in 2 months. It can be very difficult to wait.

    I always suggest that once a person has been in an auto accident, it's a good time to take an online defensive driving course to feel safer on the road and to reduce your insurance rates.

  10. Mark Vincent Kuminski

    Contributor Level 7

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, increasing the amount of liability coverage you have now will not affect the amount of applicable coverage that was in place on the date of your accident. You should, however, check to see if you have any other potential sources of liability insurance coverage such as an umbrella policy or any other automobile insurance policies in which you are a named insured. Additionally, if you were in someone else's vehicle or doing something for someone else when the accident occurred, then their insurance policies may be a potential source for coverage.

  11. James P Brady

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . $100K. The date of the accident, not the date of the lawsuit is what matters. Increasing your insurance limits after the fact will not have any impact on the coverage limits for that accident.

  12. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should take a copy of the police report and contact your insurance carrier who can respond to these issues.

    View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can... more
  13. Matthew C Simon

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Most policies are from the date of the accident, however; some policies are when the claim is made. Check your policy to be certain. Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-... more

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