An accident can devastate your family – and can result in financial ruin, as a result of medical bills and lost earnings. That’s why we have insurance, but what happens when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance? What do you do then?
Buying a particular type of insurance can be the best thing to do, to protect yourself and your family, from those who either have no insurance or are underinsured.
The Importance of UM/UIM Insurance
The main way to protect yourself in these situations is to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance.
Purchasing UM/UIM insurance coverage is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your family in the event of an automobile accident. Most states require drivers to purchase both liability insurance (in the event they hurt others), but also UM/UIM insurance (in the event someone injures them).
However, in Alabama, and many other states, a driver can waive the UM/UIM insurance coverage in writing. The consequences of waiving UM/UIM coverage could be significant. What if you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own and the at-fault driver has no insurance himself? What about your medical bills and lost earnings? This is precisely what UM/UIM coverage is designed to cover.
In fact, a UM/UIM insurance policy will even pay policyholders for pain and suffering experienced after an accident. What if you are involved in an accident riding as a passenger with another driver? Or, what if you are injured through a hit-and-run accident? UM/UIM may also provide coverage in these instances.
Why UM/UIM Insurance is Worthwhile
If you are not sure if you have UM/UIM insurance, I would encourage you to check your policy or your wallet-sized insurance card today. The fact unknown to many is that UM/UIM insurance is relatively inexpensive. On average, UM/UIM insurance accounts for only about 5 percent of the total auto insurance premium.
Once you determine that you are covered, check your limits of coverage. Obtaining more coverage, or even doubling your current coverage, may cost only a few dollars more each month. Considering that the Insurance Research Council recently found that 19.6 percent of Alabama drivers have no liability insurance, UM/UIM insurance is a worthwhile safety net to protect yourself and your family from these uninsured drivers, in the event the unthinkable happens.
I was recently involved in a case where the at-fault driver had only $25,000 in liability insurance coverage, but thanks to a large UIM policy, the injured party was able to recover over $850,000 for her injuries after a significant collision resulting in 30 days of hospitalization. Had my client not had the foresight to purchase a large UIM policy, we wouldn’t have even been able to pay off her medical bills.
Fortunately, she did have a UIM policy in place. Doing so may have saved her family from collections, bankruptcy, or worse. Recovering from an accident is already hard enough without having to deal with the financial consequences.
Assessing a claim for UM/UIM coverage may be complex. Contact me if you have any questions about the process or need help with your case.