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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

The most valuable insurance that you know nothing about.

Think about all the cars that pass by you every day. If one of them hit you, would it be insured? There are far too many drivers who either have no automobile liability insurance or inadequate insurance. They may not be able to afford insurance because of bad driving records, convictions for drunk driving, or they may just be irresponsible. They may be illegal aliens. If one hits you and you or your passengers sustain bodily injuries, you are on your own. Even though they may be legally liable for your personal injury damages, Good Luck collecting anything from them. Drivers with no or minimum insurance don’t have assets to pay for the damage they cause. This is when you will need coverage for personal injuries caused by an uninsured driver. If they have the minimum required insurance, it probably won’t cover your losses. This is when you need underinsured motorist coverage. Do you have this coverage? Do you have enough coverage?

You are probably paying extra premiums for collision insurance and comprehensive insurance to protect your vehicle. Do you have insurance to protect the people in your vehicle? This coverage is called Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. It could be the most important insurance that you will ever purchase. It is very inexpensive. You need it before you have that life-changing accident.

In Iowa and in many other states, your automobile insurance agent is required to offer you Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. All too often, a customer may decline the coverage in order to save a few dollars on the premium and will refuse to pay a small additional premium for adequate coverage. Money is tight. A few dollars could cause the customer to buy their automobile insurance elsewhere. After all, you don’t understand Uninsured/Underinsured coverage and you probably won’t need it. WRONG!

Because there are so many uninsured drivers out there, you do need this insurance! You want your own insurance company to provide the same coverage to you and your passengers as you provide to anyone else. Uninsured motorist coverage means that, if the other driver has no insurance, your insurance company may pay you and your passengers for personal injuries, the same as it would pay for the personal injuries to passengers riding in a vehicle that you hit. The maximum amount that it would pay is limited to the coverage amount that you purchase. Underinsured motorist coverage is an additional coverage that protects you if the other driver has insurance, but the policy limit for paying damages isn’t enough to cover the actual damages sustained by you and your passengers. Underinsured coverage can pay for damages that are not covered by the other driver’s insurance, limited by the maximum amount of coverage that you purchase.

We are seeing more and more cases where people sustain severe injuries in automobile accidents and where there is no insurance or inadequate insurance for the driver at fault. When our clients have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage, they have frequently been able to recover from their own insurance companies. Isn’t that what you want insurance for?

I urge you to check your policy. Do you have this coverage? Do you have enough insurance? Talk to your agent. You will never regret paying a few extra dollars for Uninsured/Underinsured insurance. Ask your agent if this coverage covers you and your own family members, not just your passengers. You may need to shop around to find the most extensive coverage. Pay for a higher limit. It doesn’t cost that much more.

Be aware that different companies offer different policies and that the actual coverage and exclusions are not all the same. Small changes may make a big difference. There are also time limits on making claims for losses. If you are in a serious accident, you need to seek legal advice immediately and have your policy reviewed in order to protect yourself and to recover your losses.

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