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

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?

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Attorney answers 13

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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


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.

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

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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.

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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.


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.


$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.

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