Personal Injury Lawyer
What is UM Coverage?
Uninsured/underinsured (“UM”) insurance coverage is used to protect you against drivers who have either no liability insurance or not enough liability insurance to compensate you for your damages. Currently, the minimum liability insurance coverage required by law varies from state to state with some states being as little as $15,000 per person, up to a total of $30,000 per accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash and sustain damages (i.e. medical expenses, pain and suffering, & etc) greater than the minimums, there will not be enough insurance to fully compensate you. Even worse, if the driver is uninsured, you may not be compensated at all. However, there is an exception if you were an occupant in someone else’s vehicle containing UM coverage. If that exception applies to you, contact an attorney to discuss your options.
What Types of UM Coverage Can I Purchase?
When you purchase auto liability insurance, you are typically given the option to also purchase either (1) Economic UM coverage or (2) Non-economic UM coverage(which also includes economic coverage). In doing so, you will be afforded the opportunity to: (1) reject ALL UM coverage; (2) choose “economic only” or “non-economic” limits the same as your liability limits or (3) a lower amount if you had more than minimum liability limits ($15,000). “Non-economic” losses include, but are not limited to, pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and others. “Economic” losses include losses that can be measured in specific monetary terms, including but not limited to, medical costs, funeral costs, lost wages and out of pocket expenses.
Why Was I Not Told About UM Coverage or Why Was I Talked Out of Purchasing Coverage?
Quite often, clients walk into my office and tell me that they were either not told about UM coverage or were talked out of purchasing such coverage. My explanation usually concerns the fact that UM coverage is (1) inexpensive for the insureds and (2) normally covers severely injured victims. Relative to the premiums paid for other types of coverage, UM premiums are low. Thus, there is much less of a financial incentive to the insurance company to sell such a policy as compared to others. Further, most UM claimants have sustained severe injuries, rather than those soft tissue injuries that heal after little or no treatment. A UM claimant’s injuries usually involve herniated disc(s), head injury, fractures, open wounds, and others. Such injuries also result in loss of wages and pain in suffering. Therefore, the insurance company is obligated to pay out most of or the total limits of the UM policy.
If you have not yet purchased UM insurance, it is not too late to have it added to your policy. The risks of not having UM coverage outweighs the costs of obtaining it. UM coverage is a smart and affordable way to protect you and your family against financial hardship that may result from a motor vehicle crash.