Will your insurer support you if you are involved in an accident, and the other driver is uninsured or has a policy that does not cover the necessary expenses?
The answer will probably be positive if you have protection against uninsured drivers, and with less than the necessary insurance (from the terms in English uninsured / underinsured motorist protection, and the initials that identify them are UM / UIM respectively).
Don’t be naive to think that because the state requires drivers to be insured, everyone respects that obligation. In accordance with Insurance Research CouncilSome states have an estimated 25% of drivers driving without insurance.
What is protection against uninsured and underinsured drivers?
These two types of coverages can pay for physical injury to you and your passengers, and in some states, for damage to your property. As long as the other driver is legally responsible for the accident, and is considered uninsured, or not having enough.
An uninsured driver is one who:
- You do not have an insurance policy
- If it does, it does not meet the minimum required by the state in the case of damage to third parties
- Your company refuses or cannot pay the claim
- Drivers who hit the road in accidents also count in this classification (they are included in the subclassification of personal injury, UMBI, in English)
On the other hand, drivers with less than the necessary insurance are those who have only a minimum of legal financial responsibility, but do not have sufficient payment possibilities to cover the damages they cause.
In these cases, the non-guilty driver can be supported by his insurer in the amortization of the damages, as long as his policy has these coverages. It is important to clarify that both protections are different, although in various states they can and / or have to be purchased together. From now on in the article we will refer to the protection coverage against uninsured drivers and with less than the necessary insurance by means of its acronym in English: UM / UIM.
Are UM / UIM coverages necessary?
Although few states require the mandatory purchase of UM / UIM coverage along with any insurance policy, most do not. If you buy both, normally they must meet the minimums required by each state, but they must not exceed your coverage conditions for damage to third parties (liability coverage).
It is relatively inexpensive to add UM / UIM coverage to your car insurance policy, especially when you consider the protections they offer. They can pay for your medical checks and damages, whether material or not.
If you or your car are run over, don’t think you will receive any payment from the culprit, especially in these times of economic crisis. Furthermore, due to these same circumstances, the number of uninsured drivers is increasing, or who do not have sufficient and necessary coverage. With UM / UIM coverage you will always receive protection, even if the other driver does not have to pay you.
How does underinsured motorist protection (UIM) coverage work?
This coverage pays for damages that exceed the payment limits of the driver considered deficient of the necessary insurance. This coverage will only pay up to the limits of your policy, after subtracting the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance company. This means that the amount set as the limit of your UIM coverage is the total amount to be paid by the two insurance companies, not the additional amount that your company would pay after the other driver pays it.
UM / UIM coverages apply to the driver and all passengers in the car. As well as the others enrolled in your policy (includes family members) if they are in other cars.
Property damage coverage for uninsured motorists (UMPD)
This coverage may seem strange and unnecessary, as many drivers already have collision coverage on their policies. Still, it is a good way for careful drivers who do not have collision coverage to protect their cars in the event of accidents involving other uninsured drivers. All this without implying a notable increase in the insurance premiums to pay. Also, a lower deductible for UMPD is often cheaper than the same type of deductible for collision coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Physical Damage Coverage (UMBI)
This coverage protects you in another way, for example, if you are a pedestrian and a car hits you crossing the street, this protection can pay you for medical expenses and lost wages due to hospitalization. This is important, because even if you have health insurance, it will not pay you for lost wages.