In this strained economy more and more people are dropping their auto insurance. Currently as many as one out of three drivers in New Mexico are without insurance. Frankly, to most folks putting food on the table and paying the mortgatge or rent and utilities comes first--and they should. The Taxation and Revenue Division is cracking down on those without liability insurance. If you are caught without insurance, you will be cited and you will pay a hefty fine.
The minimum coverage in New Mexico is 25,000/50,000/10,000. You must be offered uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and you can reject the coverage to lower the premium only if you make a "knowing" rejection. You should never reject uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Depending on the value of your car, you may not need collision or comprehensive insurance. If you have a good driving record, the insurance rates are competitive.
Before you are in an accident you need to review your own policy to make sure your uninsured motorist coverage is adequate--we recommend at least 100,000/300,000 in UM/UIM coverage. You should also choose to get the "med pay" option if your company offers it. With med pay you have a pot of money (at an amount you choose) that will immediately pay your medical bills regardless of who's at fault in the accident. Without med pay your medical bills may not be paid until all treatment has ended and your case receives a lump sum settlement. By then, your medical providers might have you in collections, and your credit rating could be harmed. Last, you need to determine whether you are "upsidedown" in your car: in other words, do you owe more than your car would bring if you traded it in? If so, "gap insurance" is highly recommended. Otherwise you could end up with no car and thousands of dollars in debt.
If you cause an accident and you don't have insurance, you will be responsible to pay for the property damage and personal injuries of those that were injured. You could have a judgment against you that will stay on record for years and years, and your bank account can be levied, your wages garnished, assets removed from your home and a lien placed on your home. All this, and you must pay out of your pocket for the attorney to represent you.
You should avoid this scenario at all costs. Even if you purchase the lowest amount of mandatory liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist, you can hopefully sleep better at night knowing that you are protedcted.
Caruso Law Offices is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and exclusively handles personal injury claims including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accident, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents resulting in personal injuries, brain injury, permanent injury and impairment and wrongful death. Offices are located in Albuquerque's North East Heights at 4302 Carlisle NE (Montgomery & Carlisle) and in Albuquerque's West Side at 2929 Coors NW Suite 310-E. Free one hour consultations with an attorney are available by calling 505-883-5000
Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury claims. He is a 1982 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law and is a former State Representative in the New Mexico Legislature.