Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Why You Should Never Drive Without it
Driver’s need to be aware that in order to protect themselves against injuries from a driver who is underinsured or uninsured they should purchase their own Underinsured (UIM) or Uninsured (UM) coverage.
UM/UIM coverage would also cover you if you sustained injuries if you were a pedestrian, bicyclist or you were involved in a hit & run incident.
This added insurance also protects you from drivers who buy only the minimum insurance required under California law. These minimum policy limits are currently $15,000 for any single person and $30,000 maximum per incident. This is what is referred to as an underinsured motorist (UIM). This is the minimum policy and it is only enough to cover very minor injuries sustained in a car accident for no more than two people. If you have a family or typically have other people in your car, you are all at risk if there is a collision involving serious injuries with an underinsured motorist.
Drivers need to be aware that they are not protected by their own insurance for medical bills and lost wages from missing work if they are in a crash with another driver who is liable for the accident. You are also covered by this insurance if you are in a pedestrian or bicycle accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver as well as hit-and-run drivers.
“It happens more often than people think,” said Attorney James Johnson. “I have had people contact me who have lost a loved one or they are in hospital with huge medical bills, but after we investigate the driver at fault for the crash we find out they have no insurance or the minimum policy limits. It’s heartbreaking to have to share this information with them.”
What Can Happen Without Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Imagine this scenario. A woman in her 60s loses her husband in a terrible car accident when a teenage driver veered into his path and crashed head-on into him on his way to work.
The teenager is found to be at fault for the collision, but she had the minimum policy limits of $15,000 available. She has no assets because she is a high school student.
The victim’s wife has no UM/UIM motorist coverage. She doesn’t work herself and is dependent on her husband for income. She also did not have life insurance. the funeral costs alone would cost several thousand dollars, there are also usually some medical bills associated with a wrongful death case. We never know when or if an accident will happen and we cannot be certain whether the other drivers have adequate insurance. However, we can protect ourselves by buying our own coverage with uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should I Get?
The best way to answer this is to say buy as much as you can afford or more. You will have to also buy comprehensive insurance at the same levels so if you have a $100,000/$300,000 policy limit you can purchase the same amount or less in UM insurance.
How to File a Claim if you are Hurt in an Accident?
Johnson Attorneys Group is a personal injury law firm that investigates claims on behalf of people who are injured in accidents throughout California. It’s easy to find out if you have a potential claim by calling us for a free consultation at 800-235-6801.