Tuesday, February 2, 2010

About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Having an accident with a driver who has no auto insurance coverage can place you and your insurance company in an unpleasant situation. However, having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage allows you to rest assured that you'll receive coverage no matter what. While having an accident with such a driver may sound quite unlikely, since all states legally require drivers to have auto insurance, fact is that there the number of uninsured drivers can go up to 25% in certain places.

What is UM or UIM?

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will pay for injuries or damages you, your passengers or your property has sustained due to an accident with a driver who doesn't have enough insurance coverage, or no insurance at all and is called responsible from the legal point of view.

By uninsured river most companies mean a driver who had no insurance, didn't have the minimum required amount, or was denied coverage by his insurance company and thus being unable to pay for the damage caused. Hit-and-run drivers can also be classified as uninsured drivers from bodily injury liability perspective.

An underinsured driver in contrast, is a car owner who had the amount of coverage to meet state minimum requirements but not enough to cover the damage or injuries caused. In this case, his insurance will pay a certain part of the damage and the rest will have to be covered by underinsured motorist coverages.

Though, you have to keep in mind that these coverage types are not the same and are separate. Still, insurance companies tend to bundle them into a single product for convenience.

Is it a must?

Only in a small number of states UM/UIM coverage is legally required. The majority of states leave it as an option. However, if you choose to purchase this coverage it should meet the minimum state requirements but not exceed liability limits of your policy. In case your company offers uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage it is impossible to be purchased without having UMBI.

What use is there in it?

First of all, this type of coverage is relatively cheap car insurance and won't boost up your rates dramatically. However, in case you have an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, you risk of not getting sufficient coverage by your company, which will pay for your car repair or medical bills if required. Assuming that the other party was at fault, it is the other party's insurance company that should be paying for these expenses, and if there's not enough or simply no coverage eventually you won't be paid anything.

Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay for your damages and injuries in case you face such a driver in an accident. It is evident that it's better to have such coverage with your policy even if you are striving for cheap car insurance. You especially benefits from this coverage if you frequently drive in areas where there are more uninsured vehicles. See what the rates are in your location and decide if it is a must for you.


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