Should You Buy Underinsured and Uninsured Driver Coverage?
Auto insurance is a must for all drivers, protecting you — and others — after an accident. We’re all familiar with the catastrophic damage a car accident can cause. While some of us get away with a minor bump, others aren’t so lucky, sustaining severe injuries or dealing with long-term post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Regardless, the cost of car repairs, medical bills, medication, and long-term rehabilitation — plus lost wages if you cannot work — can be extensive.
A car insurance claim can make all the difference.
But sadly, not all motorists have sufficient coverage — or any one of them at all. An estimated 13% — or
one in eight drivers — forgo car insurance, translating to a massive 32 million unprotected drivers on U.S. roads.
Fortunately, service providers offer a solution: underinsured motorist (UIM) and non-insured driver (UM) coverage. Depending on your state, these policies may be combined or separate, in which case they may split into additional categories:
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI), which pays medical bills for you and your passengers when a driver is not insured. Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), which pays for vehicle damage when your chauffeur is not insured. Underinsured motorist bodily injury (UIMBI), pays medical bills for you and your passengers when your chauffeur does not have enough resources. Underinsured motorist property damage (UIMPD), pays for vehicle damage when your chauffeur does not have enough resources.
But are they worth the additional cost?
McAllen personal injury lawyer Dr Louis Patino explores these policies and their advantages, along with your options for recovering compensation if you’re in an accident with one who is a completely not or underinsured chauffeur and doesn’t have additional scope. Underinsured Driver Coverage
Minimum requirements vary by state.
For example, in Texas, the minimum liability insurance requirements are:
$30,000 for bodily injury per person $60,000 for bodily injury per accident $25,000 for property damage per accident.
By contrast, drivers in Utah must have at least $25,000 in liability for bodily injury per person, $65,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident. Fall short of the costs incurred in accidents causing severe injuries such as disability, paralysis, or head trauma.
Underinsured motorist coverage works by “topping up” an at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If you have $30,000 for bodily injury and $20,000 for UM, and your car accident expenses total $40,000, UM coverage prevents you from having to find the additional $10,000. Therefore, this policy can be helpful when an injured motorist cannot work and does not have the spare cash to cover their bills.
Uninsured Driver Coverage
An underinsured motorist assumes a driver has the minimum protection required by law, but what if he or she lacks completely?
Uninsured driver coverage provides a security blanket to help you cover medical costs, property damage, and lost wages when you’re in an accident with a non-insured chauffeur or when an at-fault motorist’s insurer has gone out of business or denies the scope. In some states, your company will pay out if you sustain injuries in a hit-and-run accident.
Some states mandate a UM limit identical to your liability. In any case, it’s worth matching your policy when choosing a bodily injury limit. Your UMPD limit should reflect your vehicle’s value to cover you if your car is totaled.
So Do You Need UM or UIM Coverage?
Not all states mandate this as a requirement, but some require at least one.
You may have policies such as collision coverage — an optional policy that pays for property damage regardless of whether or not your chauffeur is insured or has enough resources — or health insurance. If UM and UIM are optional and you have these other policies, you might wonder if you need additional coverage against unprotected or underinsured drivers.
While a non-insured motorist for property damage (UMPD) is similar to collision one, it may cover damages to your vehicle and other property. Collision insurance only pays for vehicle damage.
Your health protection policy may or may not cover injuries sustained in a car accident and lost wages, so always check with your provider. It’s also worth noting that underinsured and not insured, protected passengers in your car, so if you regularly drive individuals who do not have health insurance, you may want to consider purchasing this.
What’s the Alternative?
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and do not have UM or UIM coverage — or if your expenses exceed your policy limits — you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This legal action allows you to recover additional damages for
pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment, potentially resulting in a significant payout if you sustain severe or long-term injuries.
However, it’s worth considering why the one who is on the steering wheel responsible did not have insurance — or enough — to begin with.
While some drivers may intentionally disregard the law or purchase the
minimum liability insurance required, thinking they’ll never be in an accident, others may struggle to afford it or suffer policy cancellation due to non-payment.
In the latter case, it’s unlikely the one driving could afford a court-ordered award, especially if you’re entitled to a hefty sum.
But that doesn’t always mean a lawsuit is dead in the water. Your attorney can explore your options, from a structured settlement paid in installments to suing another party who may be liable for your accident.
A car accident can cause devastating injuries, but the financial implications are often just as severe. Adding underinsured and uninsured coverage to your insurance policy guarantees protection when you encounter an unprotected or underinsured driver on the road.