Attorney Ben Schwartz answers a Facebook fan question about auto insurance. “When I’m renewing my auto policy, should I buy UM/UIM coverage?”
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Today, I’m going to answer a question about auto insurance and uninsured/underinsured coverage.
When I’m renewing my auto policy, should I buy UM/UIM coverage?
Absolutely! That is the most important coverage you could have on your automobile insurance policy.
- UM stands for uninsured motorists. It covers you if you are in a motor vehicle and you are injured due to the negligence of a driver of another car who didn’t have any insurance.
For example, let’s say you are driving down the highway. You are going through a red light at an intersection. Someone runs a red light and smashes into you. If you are injured, you can sue the person who smashed into you because that person ran a red light. The driver of that vehicle was negligent…but what happens if the driver doesn’t have any insurance to cover your personal injury claim?
If that person doesn’t have any insurance, then maybe you could attach their wages once you get a judgment in court. You could seize the driver’s assets, but what if he or she is not employed? What if he or she doesn’t have any assets?
You would want to look to your own auto insurance policy and make an uninsured motorist claim. Your UM insurance would pay you whatever you would have gotten from the at-fault driver had they been adequately insured. UM is very important because you could have significant injuries. You could have a case against the at-fault driver that has a value of hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars. If the driver has no insurance, you will want to be able to look to your own insurance policy. Purchase uninsured motorist coverage in an amount as high as you can reasonably afford.
UIM is similar to UM. It has the same policy provision, but it covers a different scenario.
- UIM claims are when the at-fault driver has insurance, but his or her auto insurance is not significant enough to cover your injuries.
In this case, you would get a policy limit settlement from the driver’s insurance company. You would look to your own insurance company to pay you more under your UIM coverage. In my opinion, this is absolutely the most important provision in your insurance policy. When you renew your insurance policy, you should buy UIM coverage in an amount as high as you can reasonably afford.