Wisconsin Drivers Do Not Get the Insurance Coverage They Pay For

Families Denied, Even With Layers of Insurance Coverage

Throughout Wisconsin, families have found out the hard way that when it comes to automobile insurance, you don’t get what you pay for. Thousands of Wisconsin families have been denied millions of dollars in automobile insurance coverage that they purchased. Too often, the family is left uncompensated for serious injuries or the death of a loved one, even though they believed that they had purchased insurance to cover any tragedy.
 
“The insurance industry is using government programs to have the taxpayers pick up the tab for the coverage they deny,” said Mark Thomsen, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. “That's the connection between the state budget and car insurance.”
 
The Wisconsin Association for Justice is highlighting the need for Truth in Auto Insurance provisions contained in the state budget by providing real stories from Wisconsin consumers who have suffered because of a series of little known provisions written into law at the request of the insurance lobby in 1995.
 
A true story from Wisconsin:
 
On July 6, 2005, twenty year-old Jaron Nault was driving a motorcycle when another vehicle crossed the center and struck the motorcycle. Jaron died as a result of his injuries. It was determined that driver who crossed the center line was solely at fault for the accident that killed Jaron Nault. That driver carried the minimum $25,000 in insurance. Jaron lived with his parents was driving a motorcycle owned by his father. They had a $100,000 underinsured motorist policy on the motorcycle. They also carried an umbrella policy of $1 million to cover the costs of a catastrophic event.
 
The insurance company first deducted the $25,000 in insurance that automobile driver carried from the $100,000 policy that Jaron’s parents paid for, leaving them with $75,000 in coverage. The Nault’s were left with over $250,000 in unpaid damages. They looked to their umbrella policy, which they purchased specifically to cover such a tragedy and the insurance company once again said no. In violation of Wisconsin law, the insurance company did not offer underinsured motorist coverage as a part of the umbrella policy. The insurance company was then ordered to pay the Nault’s parents the minimum amount of coverage required by law, leaving them with over $200,000 in unpaid damages. Even though they believed that their family was well protected, the Nault’s found out the hard way that they weren’t.
 
 
The Truth In Auto Insurance provisions in the state budget will ensure that families receive the coverage they pay for. When families are denied insurance coverage, the cost of medical bills and damages from auto accidents often fall on the taxpayers in the form of government health care and disability payments.
 
Who pays for the astronomical cost of an accident if the insurance claim is denied? If you have health insurance, it may cover your care. That will drive up the premiums that you and your employer pay for that coverage. If you don't have health care coverage, you might have to pay out of your own pocket. And if you’re not independently wealthy you could end up on BadgerCare, with your bills being paid by taxpayers.
 
For more information on the Truth in Auto Insurance provision visit www.wisjustice.org
 
For more details on this particular tragedy contact the Wisconsin Association for Justice.
 
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 Mark Thomsen is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the privileged and wealthy.
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