We are a few weeks in 2017 and, if you are like most people, some of your
New Year’s Resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. There’s
no need for shame or embarrassment, but you might want to tack on one
more that is easy to accomplish. We suggest something that is also highly
beneficial when done: reviewing your auto insurance policy for gaps in coverage.
In particular, you will want to see if you are covered for uninsured-underinsured
motorists (UM/UIM). The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that
about 12-13% of all drivers on the roads of America are uninsured; this
number has risen from an estimated 10% in years past. An unknown, yet
presumably larger, percentage of drivers are underinsured, carrying an
insurance policy but not one that meets their state’s minimum standards.
Of course, there is also an even larger percentage of drivers that have
only the minimum amount required.
In Pennsylvania, where our law firm is headquartered, the current minimum is:
$15,000 per person injured and,
$30,000 for all injuries caused by the accident.
This 15/30 policy makes it highly likely that if you are hit by an underinsured
driver, your recovery through an insurer will only cover a portion of
your medical bills and total damages. Of course, if the other driver is
uninsured or speeds away before they can be identified, the loss to you
can be even greater.
How UM/UIM Coverage Helps
Just about every auto insurance company will offer UM/UIM coverage for
an additional monthly premium. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage works
by providing financial recovery through your own insurer in the event
that you otherwise would not have gotten any from the other driver due
to a total lack of insurance coverage on their part; it can also give
coverage for hit-and-run accidents if you report the incident to the police
within 24 hours and to your own insurer within a month.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage works by providing more financial
recoveries to you through your own insurer when the other driver’s
policy does not do enough.
For example: You are in a crash caused solely by another driver. You suffer a bone
break that will need $20,000 of medical attention to address. The other
driver’s policy is set to just $15,000, and so this is what you
collect from them. If you have purchased UIM coverage, your own insurer
may be liable for the other $5,000 you need.
UM/UIM Coverage Sounds Good – But Do You Have It?
Most drivers see the option to buy UM/UIM coverage but only acknowledge
that it costs more money each month. A general lack of understanding of
its benefits means most people don’t buy this additional coverage.
So it begs the question, “Did you opt out of it? Or did you buy
it?” Do yourself a favor and complete this extra New Year’s
Resolution at your first opportunity today by reviewing your policy or
calling your auto insurance provider directly.
If you have more questions about auto insurance laws and coverage after a
car accident, Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. can help. We have
been assisting clients throughout all of Pennsylvania, backed by decades
of collective legal experience and multiple seven-figure settlements and
verdicts, with all sorts of car accident claims; in some situations following
a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, your chances are
better if you file a claim directly against them.
Contact our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers today for a
free case evaluation to gain a better understanding of your options and rights as an injured motorist.