Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Questions
Nearly all states require drivers to purchase auto insurance, namely liability coverage. However, drivers have free reign to buy coverage that is more expansive than just a minimum-coverage plan. Insurers routinely provide a variety of optional, but no less essential benefits for their policyholders to buy into. One of these is uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage.
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Common Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Questions
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Most states have at-fault auto insurance laws, meaning that they require drivers who cause accidents to pay for both their own damage and the harm that they do to others (i.e., other drivers, their passengers and so on). Auto liability insurance will be mandated by at-fault states to ensure that offending drivers have the funds to compensate these third parties.
If an accident is not your fault, then you hope to be able to file a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance. However, should that driver fail to carry liability insurance, or should their liability insurance not cover the full extent of your losses, then you might find yourself still facing astronomical recovery costs all by yourself.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will allow you to turn to your own auto policy to cover the costs of damage that were caused by an inadequately insured at-fault party. Therefore, you’ll still have a resource available to help you cover the costs of your accident losses.
How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Suppose that you are driving one day, when you suddenly get rear-ended at a stoplight. Because the other driver hit you while you were stopped, fault for the accident lies with them, not you.
However, instead of doing the right thing, that driver flees the scene of the accident. You are the victim of a hit-and-run, and you won’t be able to file a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance as a result.
Conversely, suppose that the offending driver provides you with their insurance, but when you go to file a claim for the injuries you sustained, you find that their bodily injury liability limits are much lower than your total medical bill. Therefore, even after the policy pays up to its limit, you could still face significant medical bills.
At this time, uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage can be the perfect benefit for you. It will allow your own policy pay for your losses in place of the other driver’s missing liability coverage. You also won’t be labeled at fault for the accident, but you will still receive appropriate compensation to minimize your personal financial strain.
What Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Pay For?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will primarily offer you coverage for bodily injuries sustained in accidents. These are often among the costliest recovery expenses faced by those in at-fault accidents, which is why an UM/UIM benefits can ensure that you never have to go without critical assistance.
Additionally, some UM/UIM policies also offer property damage coverage, which can help you pay for your own vehicle damage at the time a loss occurs. This coverage I not available in all states, so speak to your insurance agent if you’re interested in learning about this benefit.
Do I Need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage if I Have Full Coverage?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should be considered a part of a full-coverage auto policy, not separate from it. You want your auto policy to minimize your financial strain following any number of unexpected, unavoidable vehicle accidents. Therefore, when you can’t get assistance from an at-fault driver’s liability insurance, you should be able to turn to your own policy for assistance from your UM/UIM benefits.