Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) come into play when someone is in an accident with a driver who has no, or too little, insurance. Nearly 14 percent of drivers in 2009 had no auto insurance, reports the Insurance Information Institute.
Accidents with un- or underinsured drivers could be a financial disaster because without the coverage, it will be difficult to collect compensation for damages. Carrying UM and UIM isn’t mandatory in Indiana, but because of the benefits and security it provides, it’s definitely worth considering these auto insurance options.
What Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Covers
UM and UIM protects you and your passengers should the other party not carry liability insurance, or doesn’t carry enough to completely cover the damages in an accident they cause.
When you’ve been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, normally that party’s liability insurance will cover your damages. Should they have no insurance, you’ll have to turn to your insurance company for help.
If you carry UM, your insurance company will cover your damages including:
- Emergency care
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Property damage is not covered under a UM policy. However, there is a type of insurance referred to as uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) which will cover damages to your car should you be hit by an underinsured or underinsured driver. It may also come into play if your vehicle is struck by a hit and run driver. You can speak to your agent for details.
How UM Can Help After an Accident
Far too many people on the road don’t purchase insurance, as the law requires. Should you be injured by one of these drivers without insurance, if you don’t carry UM on your policy, you’ll likely wind up having to foot many of the bills yourself. Though, health insurance may cover your medical expenses after you meet your deductible.
Furthermore, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has recognized a troubling trend with hit and run accidents. Approximately 1,500 people per year are killed in hit and run accidents, and many more suffer injuries, according to the AAA. When a driver is struck and injured in a hit and run accident, UM will kick in and cover the damages.
You can speak to your insurance agent about UM coverage and how much of it to carry. Some motorists keep $25,000/$50,000 worth of UM/UIM, while some keep an upwards of $100,000, depending upon their assets and needs.
An Example of How UM Works
Let’s say you have a UM policy with a $25,000 limit per person. You’re stopped at a traffic light and a driver slams into the back of your car. You suffer neck and knee injuries, have to undergo extensive medical treatment, and miss several weeks from work because of the injury.
As the police come on the scene and begin collecting information, you learn the other driver doesn’t carry insurance. You call your insurance company, report the accident, and file a claim. Your UM policy will cover all your medical bills and lost wages up to $25,000. If you carry UMPD, damages to your car will also be covered.
If the other driver was insured, but lacked enough to cover your damages, your underinsured car insurance coverage would kick in to cover the difference, up to the limits of your policy.
If you don’t carry uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured car insurance, your next legal options would be to rely on health insurance and/or sue to the other driver to recover damages. When all is said and done, you’d probably wind up having to pay for many of your losses out-of-pocket or fail to recover losses like lost wages.
Consulting a Car Accident Attorney to Assist with Legal Matters
If you’ve recently been in an accident and need legal advice regarding how to collect compensation, contact us at Hensley Legal Group. We serve accident victims in Indiana. Call us today for a FREE no-obligation consultation at (317) 472-3333.