UM/UIM Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance: An Essential GuideIn the unpredictable world of driving, accidents can happen in a blink. What’s even more unpredictable is whether the other party involved has adequate insurance coverage. Here’s where UM/UIM insurance becomes crucial for every motorist.
What is UM/UIM Insurance?Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance are types of auto insurance coverages that protect you if you’re involved in an accident with someone who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the damages.
- Uninsured Motorist (UM): Protects you when the at-fault driver has no insurance.
- Underinsured Motorist (UIM): Steps in when the at-fault driver has insurance, but it’s not enough to cover all the damages.
Why is UM/UIM Coverage Important?Despite legal requirements in many places, a significant number of drivers operate their vehicles without adequate insurance. UM/UIM insurance provides a safety net, ensuring that you don’t bear the financial burden if you’re in an accident with one of these drivers.
What Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover?
- Bodily Injury: Medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Property Damage: Repair or replacement costs for your vehicle or other properties damaged in an accident (availability varies by state).
How Does It Work?If you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you’d file a claim with your own insurance company. After verification, your insurer would cover the costs up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy.
Limitations and ExclusionsLike all insurance policies, UM/UIM insurance has its limitations:
- Policy Limits: The coverage will pay up to the limits you’ve selected. If damages exceed this amount, you might have to cover the difference.
- Fault Matters: UM/UIM typically applies only if the other driver is at fault.
How Much Does UM/UIM Coverage Cost?The cost varies depending on factors like location, your driving record, and the amount of coverage you choose. Generally, adding UM/UIM coverage is less expensive than primary liability coverage. UM/UIM insurance offers peace of mind, ensuring that you’re protected from the financial ramifications of accidents with drivers who aren’t adequately insured. It’s an essential consideration when choosing your auto insurance coverage. Always discuss your options with an insurance agent to find the best fit for your needs.
UM/UIM Insurance is a part of an auto insurance policy that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages if you are hit by a driver who is either uninsured, or does not have enough insurance to cover your costs.
It depends on the state. Some states require drivers to have UM/UIM coverage, while in others it is optional. It’s important to check your local laws to understand your obligations and protections.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance covers you, your passengers, and your vehicle in the event of an accident with a driver who does not have insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance kicks in when the at-fault driver has insurance, but their limits are not enough to cover all of the damages. It will cover the difference between what the at-fault driver can pay and what you are owed, up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy.
If you’re involved in an accident and the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you file a claim with your own insurance company under your UM/UIM coverage. Your insurer will then cover your costs, up to the limit of your policy.
The amount of UM/UIM coverage you need depends on your personal assets, your vehicle’s value, and your personal risk tolerance. Many experts recommend that your UM/UIM limits match your liability limits.
Yes, in most cases, UM/UIM Insurance covers hit-and-run accidents, as long as you report the incident to the police and your insurance company in a timely manner.
In some states, you are allowed to “stack” UM/UIM coverage, which means you can combine the coverage limits of multiple vehicles on your policy to increase your total coverage amount.
UM/UIM coverage is generally less expensive than other parts of an auto insurance policy, but the cost depends on various factors including your location, driving history, and the amount of coverage you choose.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, you would have to pay for your own medical bills and car repairs out of pocket, or try to sue the at-fault driver for damages, which can be a lengthy and uncertain process.