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What About Uninsured Motorist Coverage?



Car accidents are stressful.  Your first thought, am I injured?   Is my car severely damaged?  Does the at fault driver have sufficient insurance coverage?

You likely took the responsible actions of getting auto insurance. But did your agent fully explain the meaning of full coverage?  Did you know that uninsured/under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is not a requirement!  The facts are clear, 24% of the cars on roadways are uninsured, and 50% of drivers carry limits of less than $25,000 per person for bodily injury.  Your agent is required to offer you UM limits equal to your liability limit and you have the right to accept the limit, reject the limit altogether, or select a different limit. You can be sure that your advisor at BAW will make this topic a priority to discuss this with you.

A brief overview of Uninsured/under-insured motorist:

Uninsured or under-insured motorist insurance, is commonly referred to as UM. UM is a truly important insurance coverage to have. Especially since there are states that have no requirement for BI insurance, like Florida.  A UM coverage provision is commonly found on automobile insurance policies that provides coverage for a driver to receive damages for any injury incurred from an uninsured, negligent driver.

What does it cover:

UM is amazing in time of need and can extend to you and your passengers for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages.

And losses stemming from:

  • Uninsured drivers
  • Underinsured drivers,
  • Hit and run drivers.

 

In the event of an accident with an uninsured/under-insured motorist, the bodily damage category covers costly medical expenses, while property damage covers the costs of car repair or replacement. UM is not a replacement to your collision or personal injury coverage, but acts as an extension to help pick up where those coverage’s fall short.

Another HUGE benefit to UM  coverage, is that it will extend in the event of a hit and run accident. Generally, for accidents only causing damage to the vehicle, often the other driver fails to stop and leave their insurance information. You should not be stuck with the full cost of repair. Thanks UM!

 

Stacked vs. non-stacked

There are advantages to carrying stacked coverage vs. non-stacked. Stacked will give you access to higher coverage limits after an accident involving an uninsured/under-insured driver.

For example, if you have three vehicles on your policy, and selected $100/$300 as your UM limits; in the event of an accident a stacked provision will increase your overall coverage to $300/$900.

No-Fault State:

Live in a No-Fault state you say?

We hear that a lot, but most folks don’t usually have the full definition. The No-Fault provision is essentially an agreement between the insurance companies and the state legislature. Under the provision, insurance companies are required to provide a certain level of coverage for their insured if they are involved in an automobile accident, regardless of fault.  You may have heard of this coverage called something different; the coverage known as PIP or Personal Injury Coverage. In states like Florida, this coverage provides a maximum of $10,000 towards medical injuries.

 

Is it costly, and is it worth it?

What might it cost you if an uninsured motorist hit your car and you didn’t have UM/UIM coverage?

In 2013 the average collision claim was for $3,144, and the average bodily injury liability claim was for $15,443.With 1 in 8 drivers not carrying more than $10,000 in liability limits, there is a good chance their policy will not cover all of the potential liability costs they you could sustain. This is where your UM/UIM coverage comes in.

Let’s work out a scenario:

A driver runs a red light and hits your car, causing $15,000 in damages to your vehicle, and forcing you to miss 7 days of work with severe back pain.  And, uh oh! The driver does not have an insurance policy equipped to cover those losses. Who pays for your lost wages, chiropractor visits, regular living dues, and of course your vehicle.  Without UM/UIM coverage, your only options may be to pay out of your own pocket or to attempt to sue the other driver, assuming you collected their contact information.

 

While uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage is not required in all states, it is highly recommended in order to keep you and your passengers covered when the unthinkable occurs.

Thanks for reading,

Evan Eisenberg

Do you have a question you would like to see answered in the next weekly blog? Be sure to click over to our Staff page and connect with me!


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