NBC10 Boston Responds: Under-Covered for Your Car? Couple's Case Highlights Under-Insurance

In Massachusetts, if the person responsible for the crash has more auto insurance coverage than you do, meaning a higher financial limit, your under-insurance policy won't payout, a lawyer says

When was the last time you reviewed your car insurance policy? Probably not since you bought it.

A Foxborough couple thought they were covered in any crash scenario, but that wasn't the case. And when they contacted our NBC10 Boston Responds team for help, Consumer Investigative Reporter Leslie Gaydos discovered that what happened to them could happen to anyone living in Massachusetts.

When Diane Galanti and her husband Eric drive through an intersection near their home in Foxboro, they say they're reminded of a car crash that's left them emotionally and physically drained.

"It looked like a war zone," said Diane. "There was smoke and the car was just completely crushed."

On a dark night in October 2017, the couple, riding with Diane's sister, were rear-ended, as they sat at a red light at the corner of Fisher Street and Route 140.

"It was just this like whoosh," explained Diane. "Smashed in the back and we were just moving."

This incident made headlines. Patriots player, Harvey Langi, and his wife were in the car behind the Galantis. All five of the victims were hospitalized. According to Foxborough police, the driver of a third car hit them both.

Kevin Conroy of Millis was charged and pled guilty to negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Diane says she and her husband have lingering injuries and have endured months of pain, rehab, and medical bills.

"Eric was out of work for three months with a back injury," said Diane. "We both were in PT."

The Galantis are expecting to get some money from the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash, but it's unclear how much, since the payout will be split between the five people injured in the collision.

And it could be years before they see any of that money.

In the interim, the couple was counting on receiving a payout from their own insurance company to cover their medical expenses. For years, the Galantis had been paying for an under-insurance policy, which they thought would provide them with extra coverage in the event of an accident. But they were wrong.

"I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for them to say there was a loophole, and we were thinking of it the wrong way," said Eric Galanti.

Safety Insurance denied their claim, citing Massachusetts case law as the basis for its decision. Safety tells NBC10 Boston it will not comment on individual cases. We reached out to two personal liability lawyers who are not involved in the Galanti's case to explain why their claim was denied.

"Under-insurance is where you have the option to buy additional insurance in the event that you are harmed in a collision by a driver who does not have enough in their bodily injury coverage to cover all of your damages," explained Liability Attorney, Marsha Kazarosian.

But here in Massachusettes, there's a catch says Kazarosian. If the person responsible for the crash has more auto insurance coverage than you do, meaning a higher financial limit, your under-insurance policy won't payout.

In this case, the man who caused the crash has a $250,000 policy limit. The Galantis have a $100,000 policy.

"Because the person who hit them had $250,000 which is more than that $100,000 - that 100 is completely wiped out," explained liability attorney Walter Costello.

So now the couple most wait to see how much they get from the driver who caused the collision's insurance company, and if it's not enough to cover their medical bills and expenses, they're simply out of luck.

"We would have been better off if this kid had no insurance, because our insurance company would have paid," said Diane.

The Galanti's State Representative, Jay Barrows, tells NBC10 Boston that he's working at the State House to fix the flaw in the law. If that happens, insurance rates for under-insurance coverage could go up.

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