When you purchase an auto insurance policy, you have the option of purchasing underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Based in Phoenix, car accident lawyer Aaron Crane from Cantor Crane describes UIM as if you are in an accident, UIM coverage makes up the difference between the amount of coverage carried by the responsible driver and the amount of damages you suffer. If you have $100,000 in accident-related damages, but the other driver’s insurance only pays $50,000, UIM coverage closes the gap. UIM coverage is often needed in serious accidents where the other driver does not have enough insurance to pay for property damage, medical expenses and lost wages.
An Overview of Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage is usually referred to as UIM. In most cases, UIM coverage is not required, but you should consider adding it to your policy. Serious accidents cause a lot of financial hardship, especially if you have to miss months of work while you recover from your injuries. If the driver who caused the accident does not have enough insurance to pay for your losses, a UIM policy can ease the burden on your family.
Why UIM Coverage is Necessary
Our firm of car accident attorneys recently handled an accident claim for a client who was T-boned by a driver who did not yield. The accident caused a hip fracture and totaled her brand-new car. She had hip surgery and spent six months recovering. Even worse, her hip pain never went away. When we contacted the responsible driver’s insurance company, we found out that he had only purchased $50,000 in liability coverage.
Our client’s surgery cost way more than $50,000, and she also had to pay for physical therapy and other medical expenses. The client was surprised to find out that her agent never suggested underinsured motorist coverage for her insurance policy. When asked why, the agent said he was trying to save her some money on insurance premiums. Opting out of UIM coverage may save you a few dollars per month, but you do not want to be without this type of coverage if you are involved in a serious accident.
Why Did Not Anyone Tell Me About UIM Coverage?
Insurance companies do not like to make people aware of UIM coverage because it is relatively inexpensive and often leads to large settlements when someone is in a serious accident. Your agent may have assumed you would prefer to save money on your annual premium. There are a lot of reasons insurance agents and salespeople do not tell customers about UIM. The bottom line is that you really should have this coverage in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not carry enough insurance.
Is UIM Coverage Expensive?
Surprisingly, UIM coverage is very affordable. If you buy a policy from a well-known insurance company, you can expect to pay about $65 per year for $500,000 in UIM coverage. You would spend more buying a cup of gourmet coffee every day. If you need this type of coverage after a serious accident, you will be glad you added it to your policy.
What if I Have Full-Coverage Insurance?
Do not assume that you have full-coverage insurance that will protect you if you are in an accident caused by an underinsured driver. There is no accepted definition for “full coverage,” and policies vary from state to state. Ask your insurance agent to add UIM coverage to your policy before it is too late.
Buying UIM coverage is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your family from the financial hardship caused by a serious auto accident. Although UIM is not required in Arizona, the benefits of having this type of coverage far outweigh the costs. If you do not already have UIM coverage, contact your agent immediately.