The “Step Down” Clause

 In a perfect world, there would be no auto accidents and everyone would be safe. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and auto accidents do happen, that’s why it’s important for everyone to carry auto insurance. Today, I want to talk about something important when it comes to your auto policy and keeping you protected; I want to talk to you about liability coverage.

Liability coverage is there for you when you are in an accident and you hurt someone. You are not responsible for their medical bills, but can be accountable for their “pain & suffering.” If they take you to court and the judge decides you were negligent, then your auto insurance is going to respond. Most companies write you a split liability limit of $100,000/$300,000/$100,000. So if someone sues you for $100,000, you are covered.

Now let’s talk about your family. Let’s say you run over a sibling’s foot and they take you to court for pain & suffering. Do you have coverage since they are a “family member”? The answer would be YES, but how much coverage do you have? That is a question I can not answer for you, but most insurance companies give you the limit of liability that the policy states. However, there is a new insurance clause out called the “Step-Down” auto insurance clause that may not give you as much coverage as you think you would have. It basically states that a person unrelated to you will have more coverage than a family member. So if your insurance company has this clause, your sibling will only receive the state minimum required liability. How much is that you ask? $20,000! The worst part about it is that the insurance company is not going to just tell you it’s in the policy; they will wait untill a loss occurs then tell you at that time.

My family is my world and they should be entitled to coverage if they are hurt. Do you know if you have this “Step-Down” clause as part of your insurance policy? Better yet does your agent even know? Don’t let your family suffer; call your agent to see if your family will be covered.

Kristen Juracek, Assistant Account Executive