Being involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist can be extremely stressful. After all, who’s going to pay for your medical bills? Who will pay to get your car repaired? What will you do if your insurance provider won’t cover the claim?
A large number of the motorists on today’s roads are uninsured. Difficult economic times can force consumers to go without necessary insurance coverages, and car insurance is often the first to go.
Recent studies show that almost 13% of the nation’s motorists are uninsured. In some states, as many as 25% of motorists are driving without insurance, and even more are driving with insufficient insurance.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you may be unable to recover the cost of your medical bills, damage to your car, and lost wages. Thus, having uninsured motorist insurance is extremely important.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Explained
Not all states require motorists to carry uninsured motorist insurance. However, many motorists carry it anyway because it provides much-needed protection.
To put it simply, uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is additional car insurance purchased to compensate you and/or your passengers for damages caused by an uninsured motorist.
More precisely, UM insurance pays you if:
- Someone else injures you;
- They are at fault; and
- They have no insurance.
If you have UM insurance, it will cover you, anyone authorized to drive your car, passengers, and sometimes pedestrians for all of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, up to your uninsured coverage limits.
Similarly, underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) will cover damages caused by motorists who do not have sufficient insurance to completely pay for your claim, so it only kicks in if that motorist’s insurance has paid up to its limit and it is still not enough to completely cover your claim.
For instance, suppose you and/or your passengers are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, leaving you with $30,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your car. If you then add on another $30,000 for your pain and suffering, your total claim against that motorist would come to $60,000.
However, if the motorist is only covered for up to $50,000 in damages, his or her insurance would pay you the first $50,000 and your UIM insurance would cover the remaining $10,000, providing that you have bought at least $10,000 in UIM coverage.
Your uninsured/underinsured policy should provide enough coverage to compensate you for all of your losses and enable you to recover physically and financially. So, it is recommended that you purchase at least $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per accident worth of UM/UIM coverage, whenever you can afford it.
Why Carry Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Being involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can result in significant costs that may not be covered under your basic insurance policy. Furthermore, while state laws require all motorists to carry liability insurance, it is estimated that 1 in every 7 motorists on US roads is uninsured.
Moreover, the minimum liability insurance requirement in some states is so low that it is barely enough to cover the costs associated with the typical car accident.
For these reasons, some states require motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage, at least. While uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage should not be considered as a replacement for adequate collision and personal injury coverage, they should be seen as indispensable auto insurance supplements that are relatively inexpensive, considering the amount of protection they offer you.
Talk to Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys
If you or loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the experienced attorneys at Elliott Law Office are ready to help. Contact us online, or call us at 308-532-1963 to schedule a free consultation and to find out how we can assist you. Learn more about our Car Accident Personal Injury Practice »