Driving in New Mexico can be a stressful experience. The state has many roadways deemed among the most dangerous in the nation, including the I-40 and I-25. That’s just the interstates on the list of roadways where the most accidents happen in New Mexico. There also are state and U.S. highways like State Route 550, affectionately known as “The Death Highway” by locals.
To compensate for dangers New Mexicans face every time they get behind the wheel, state law requires they carry at least $25,000 bodily injury liability limits per person and up to $50,000 per accident in their automobile insurance policies.
Drivers who fail to meet the minimum requirements face fines and other penalties. Even worse, they can open themselves up to personal injury lawsuits if they cause an automobile accident that seriously injures another driver or their passengers.
What is the minimum liability insurance in New Mexico?
New Mexico drivers must carry liability car insurance. Liability insurance covers damages and injuries they may cause to others during an automobile accident. There is a bonus to carrying this type of insurance coverage: it covers their legal defense if someone files a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Drivers must ensure the have the following required minimum limits for liability insurance while operating a motor vehicle in the state:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to a single person.
- $50,000 for bodily injury to multiple persons in the same accident.
- $10,000 for damage to property from one accident.
Policies with this kind of coverage are written as 25/50/10. While there are minimum requirements, drivers should consider buying as much coverage as they can afford. The extra insurance provides a buffer if they cause an accident with damages that exceed the minimum limits.
Advantages and disadvantages of choosing minimum coverage
Without question, the biggest advantage to purchasing only the minimum for automobile insurance liability coverage is lower monthly premiums. However, that savings quickly can diminish if drivers cause an accident with multiple serious injuries that exceed their coverage. They can be on the hook for making up the difference if any of the crash victims file a personal injury lawsuit.
The biggest disadvantage to choosing only minimum coverage is potential financial ruin. As previously mentioned, drivers that cause accidents with multiple serious injuries and extensive destruction to vehicles and other personal property can be on the hook for any damages awarded as part of a personal injury lawsuit.
Minimum bodily injury requirements in New Mexico can be exhausted quickly, even if there are only minor or moderate injuries. That $10,000 property damage limit won’t cover much if drivers must replace or repair multiple vehicles.
What happens without sufficient insurance coverage?
Let’s say a driver fails to yield properly when entering I-40 and causes a multi-vehicle crash with serious injuries. Several of the vehicles must be towed from the scene, and their occupants are transported to the hospital via ambulance. If the at-fault driver carries only minimum coverage, it will not be sufficient for covering the total damages.
Personal injury attorneys often deal with victims who received inadequate compensation from insurance companies. The funds were not sufficient for covering the costs of repairs or replacement to their vehicles, nor pay for any lost wages or medical expenses. Most of the time, personal injury lawyers recommend suing the at-fault party to recoup the losses.
How to buy additional coverage
Most insurance companies permit policyholders to increase the limit of liability insurance they have for an extra premium. Drivers who wish to take this route should consider going with liability limits of 50/100/50 to maximize the benefit. Individuals who have valuable assets may want to go even higher, including adding more coverage for their own vehicles to avoid out-of-pocket expenses for repairs.
If an insurance company refuses to allow policyholders to purchase more than the state limit of liability insurance, it may be time to explore coverage with another insurance provider.
Relief for automobile accident victims
Motorists injured in automobile accidents where the at-fault party has only minimum liability insurance coverage may want to consult with a personal injury attorney before agreeing to any kind of settlement from the insurance company. Many times, insurance companies try to pressure victims into settling for less compensation than they deserve if their clients are underinsured.
The personal injury experts at Cameron and Russell can evaluate a case for free to determine the best course of action to ensure victims receive fair compensation for their injuries and other damages. Schedule an appointment today by calling 505-218-7844 or contacting us online.