This blog recommends that drivers check with their insurance agent to make sure they have under-insured motorist coverage on their auto policy to ensure they’re covered against drivers who don’t carry enough insurance.
Here is the scenario. Sam is hurt in an automobile accident caused by Chris who runs a red light. Sam goes to the emergency room and then he has physical therapy rehabilitation for head (concussion), neck and back injuries. Sam misses work for about a month because of his traumatic injuries. After several months of rehabilitation, Sam’s doctor concludes that additional therapy is not really going to be of much more benefit and suggests that Sam will simply have to “live with” periodic neck and back pain and discomfort.
Sam asks a personal injury lawyer to review his claim. The lawyer, after securing all of the evidence and receiving all of the medical documentation, tells Sam that his claim against the other driver is worth at least $37,000. At the same time the lawyer is also able to learn that Chris, the driver at fault, has the minimum insurance coverage allowed under state law. That means that Chris only has $25,000 of liability coverage.
The obvious problem in this scenario is that Chris doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to fully cover Sam’s damages. However, that all changes if Sam has under-insured motorist coverage (commonly referred to as “UIM coverage”). If Sam had UIM coverage then a claim could be made against his own insurance company under his UIM coverage for the amounts not covered by Chris’ insurance company.
This is the best way to protect yourself against a driver who injures you, but does not have enough insurance to fully cover your damages. For the coverage and peace of mind you receive with UIM coverage, the premium cost is usually very affordable.
The other thing to keep in mind about UIM coverage is that, even though you are making a claim against your own insurance company, it won’t raise your insurance rates. That is because the event triggering the claim is not chargeable to you (ie: it wasn’t your fault that you were hurt). UIM coverage could turn out to be the best insurance decision you ever made, especially when a higher percentage of drivers are carrying the minimum amounts of insurance.
Therefore, the best advice is to talk to your agent about adding or increasing the amount of UIM coverage under your policy. As a personal injury lawyer, I have run into the above scenario more times than I would like to recall. I hope this helps save someone else from an insurance disaster.