Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you’re searching for long term car insurance, you will need a certain amount of coverage to meet the state law. This is called liability insurance and the minimum amount that many states require isn’t enough protection for the many circumstances that can happen when you’re behind the wheel. For example, if a tree falls on your windshield due a windstorm, liability coverage won’t pay for the damage. You would need comprehensive coverage. If you accidentally run a stop light and hit a tree, comprehensive or liability won’t cover for that damage. You need to have collision insurance.
As you can see, there are certain levels of insurance that you need to purchase to make sure you’re protected. Unfortunately, there are many people that don’t understand the importance of having the proper coverage even to meet the state legal requirement so they forego insurance altogether. Many of these uninsured motorists continue to drive on the roads, which poses a risk not only to themselves but also to you. If an uninsured motorist causes an accident that breaks your arm and damages your car, they have no insurance to pay you so how do you recover the costs? When you find your long term car insurance, be sure to add uninsured/underinsured to your policy to protect you in just this kind of event.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Normally, if you’re involved in an accident that another driver causes, his or her liability coverage is going to pay for damages and injuries. But what if the driver has no insurance? Or what if your injuries and property damage exceed the other motorist’s liability limits? You have a couple of options. You could try to sue the motorist to collect the money that you deserve or, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you could file a claim with your own insurance company.
An uninsured motorist is someone who does not have any form of insurance.
An underinsured motorist is someone who met the state legal limits for liability insurance but failed to buy further insurance, leading to low limits.
This kind of coverage is going to pay for injuries that occur to you and your passengers and the damages that your car sustains. If the other driver is completely uninsured, your insurance company would be responsible for paying your entire claim after the deductible was met. If the other driver was underinsured, your injuries and damage would be paid for until their coverage limit was reached. At that point, you would then file a claim with your personal insurance company to cover the rest of the costs.
All claims that you make under your own policy are subject to the amount of coverage that you buy so you want to make sure that your limits are appropriate. Check your personal liability coverage amounts and try to match that when setting limits for your uninsured/underinsured policy.
How Does Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist?
Let’s look at an example to illustrate how these policies work for drivers.
You’re on your way to work one day when a motorist comes around a blind curve on your side of the road. You manage to avoid a head-on collision but the damage and injuries are still significant. The total loss amount is $350,000 and you have coverage limits of $500,000 on your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. If the other driver was underinsured with a liability limit of $100,000, you would collect that amount from the driver’s insurance company and then collect the remaining amount of $250,000 from your insurance company. If the other driver was uninsured, then you would collect the total amount from your insurance company.
Is UM/UIM Work Legally Required?
Some states have required that all drivers have this type of coverage on their insurance policy. If you aren’t sure if your state requires it or not, it’s best to do personal research or ask your insurance agent. If it’s legally required, there will be certain limits that you need to meet. But remember that just because the state sets a legal minimum requirements that it provides adequate protection. Whether it’s legally required or not, this is a great addition to your policy.
How Much Does It Cost?
Adding this coverage to your policy is relatively inexpensive. Cost is going to depend on the amount of coverage you buy as well as your current policy and driving record. If you examine the cost of the policy with the benefits that it provides, adding it to your insurance plan just makes sense.
With the number of uninsured drivers growing steadily, the changes of literally running into one increase as well. Getting into an accident is always a headache but having to work with someone who isn’t properly insured can just add to the frustration. You can’t control other people’s action but you can control the amount of protection you provide for yourself. Make sure you’re covered even when other drivers aren’t and add UIM/UM to your insurance policy today.