Automobile insurance coverage is mandatory in almost all states in the US! This is not a news flash, everyone who drives a vehicle knows that they must be covered for liability should there be an accident. The laws in most states require “minimum” coverage insurance that would pay for damages to body and property that you might cause to someone else in an accident that you are found to be all or mostly at fault. This is liability coverage.
Insurance companies also offer to their customers a variety of additional coverage to choose from. This insurance might cover the cost of a rental car, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, loss of essential services, travel expenses, car repair, car replacement or other items that could be covered by purchasing additional insurance. There are two types of coverage that seem to get lost in the discussion which should be at or near the top of anyone’s list as they shop for or look for insurance coverage;
UM/UIM motorist coverage can pay for injuries that you or your passengers have suffered, and in some cases pay for your property damage is you have losses in an accident.
An uninsured driver is someone who did not have any insurance in force, had insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim. This could also apply when an insurance company becomes insolvent and cannot financially settle a debt they owe. Hit-and-run drivers also fit into the uninsured motorist category as it relates to bodily injury.
An underinsured driver is someone who met minimum mandatory coverage limit requirements, however, the insurance applicable did not have high enough limits to cover the extent of the damage they caused. In these cases, UM or UIM can pay you for your damages. It is important to note that uninsured and underinsured motorist protections are separate, although in many states they can or must be purchased together and should be a part of your discussions with your insurance professional.
The Big Question- “Why would I want to pay for insurance that takes the place of others financial responsibility?” This is a statement that personal injury attorneys hear quite often when asked if they have this coverage as part of their insurance policy. There are many answers for this but the best one is this:
UM/UIM coverage is not very expensive and the benefits could be huge!
It’s usually relatively inexpensive to add UM/UIM coverage to your car insurance policy, especially if you consider the amount of protection it offers.
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), www.iii.org, a business dedicated to helping the public understand insurance and the insurance industry, says of UM/UIM. “You absolutely need this coverage, because, if you get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance or doesn’t have enough of it, you want to be made financially whole again. You have to protect yourself fiscally and physically, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection can help you in that regard.” – Carolyn Gorman, VP, I.I.I..
Imagine that you are involved in a serious accident and your entire family is in the vehicle with you. You were all taken to the hospital and some require surgery for their injuries. The person who cause the accident had only minimal coverage and their insurance company is offering full policy limits for your damages, however, the insurance company wants you to sign a release of all liability for their insured in consideration of this payment.
You and your family are left ‘holding the bag’, because of the lack of insurance or enough insurance to cover your losses, your suffering will continue and may not only be damaging to your finances, but to the availability of proper medical resources to help you and your family fully recover from the injuries in a serious accident. Why would someone not want to cover themselves in case of this potential, especially if the insurance does not cost very much?
Insurance agents/brokers know about this coverage, but some do not recommend it to their customers for a variety of reasons, mostly because it might make the attractiveness of their policies diminish if the premiums rise above their competition. It is the consumer’s responsibility to understand what their insurance does and does not cover. It is necessary to re-evaluate your coverage limits often and as your families’ needs change, so does your insurance needs.
UM/UIM coverage is a relatively inexpensive way to protect yourself and your family while driving on ever-increasingly dangerous roadways. This insurance is the best ‘bang for the buck’ in many peoples’ minds. It is also very important to understand that UM/UIM coverage is NOT paying for deadbeats coverage, but is for your protection and that of your family.