The Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage


Under Pennsylvania law, every car insurance policy is required to provide at least $15,000/$30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage.  That’s $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 per accident. For those who have been severely injured in a motor vehicle accident, these bare minimum coverages are often insufficient, leaving motorists with tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, devastating injuries, and no way to recover. While no one anticipates being involved in an accident, having the right insurance coverage can make a significant difference in protecting yourself and your assets. This is where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) comes into play, offering vital protection in scenarios where the other party involved in the accident lacks adequate insurance and possible personal injury lawsuits may ensue. 

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage, as the name suggests, provides financial protection if you’re involved in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have any auto insurance. In such cases, your uninsured motorist coverage can step in to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. This coverage essentially acts as a safety net for you and your passengers in the event of a collision with an uninsured driver.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

On the other hand, underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who has insurance but not enough to cover all your damages. In these situations, your underinsured motorist coverage can bridge the gap between the other driver’s insurance limits and the actual cost of your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other losses resulting from the accident. This coverage ensures that you aren’t left financially vulnerable due to someone else’s inadequate insurance coverage.

Why is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Important?

Investing in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is crucial for several reasons:

  • Protection against unforeseen circumstances: Even though auto insurance is mandatory in many places, there are still drivers who operate vehicles without insurance. UM/UIM coverage provides a layer of protection against such situations.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that you have coverage in place to handle expenses resulting from accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists can offer peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
  • Comprehensive financial protection: In the aftermath of an accident, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses can quickly add up. UM/UIM coverage ensures that you’re not left shouldering the financial burden alone.
  • No dependence on other party’s insurance: Relying solely on the other party’s insurance coverage leaves you vulnerable if their policy limits are insufficient. UM/UIM coverage puts you in control of your financial protection, regardless of the other driver’s insurance status.

Why Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Matters in a Lawsuit

If you were injured in an auto accident by another driver, assuming they carried the state minimum insurance of $15,000, you would first exhaust that coverage before tapping into your own health insurance and UIM coverage. UIM can cover additional medical fees, as well as non-medical expenses, such as loss of wages. If you did not have UM/UIM coverage, you may be forced to resort to a personal injury lawsuit to recoup your costs. 

If you were found to be at fault in an auto accident where you had the minimum insurance coverage and the other driver experienced $150,000 in medical bills, they will likely make a UIM insurance claim for the difference. Depending on how successful they are in this claim, or if they did not have UIM coverage, they may also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against your insurance agency or you. 

If you find yourself in either position, please connect with a personal injury attorney to discuss options, including statute of limitations for making a claim or being sued by another party. 

Get Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In a perfect world, all motorists would carry adequate insurance coverage to protect themselves and others in the event of an accident. However, the reality is that not everyone complies with insurance requirements, and accidents happen unexpectedly. This is why uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a vital component of any auto insurance policy.

As you consider your insurance options, it’s essential to assess your risk tolerance and financial situation carefully. While adding UM/UIM coverage may increase your premiums slightly, the peace of mind and comprehensive protection it offers in the event of an accident far outweigh the additional cost.

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