When shopping auto insurance, there are different types of coverage that you should consider adding to your policy. Some coverages are required by law and some are not, and it can be confusing trying to decide what coverages you need and those you can live without.

Imagine driving to work, and the car in the adjacent lane swerves and sideswipes you. Or while in a traffic jam, you are rear-ended by another driver. If you find yourself in any of the ordeals, the first thing you will think of might be is that the driver is insured and that all your damages will be well covered by their insurance policy. Your worst nightmare would be finding out that the at-fault driver is uninsured or has a policy that is insufficient to cover the injuries and damages.

Uninsured motorist coverage, also known as uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage and is often shortened to UM/UIM. This coverage is a mandatory requirement in some states and only optional in others. UM should be a serious consideration for everyone buying car insurance.

What does uninsured motorist coverage cover?

All states require that drivers have proof of insurance while operating a motor vehicle. In some states, the Secretary of State may decide to send out audit letters to selected drivers asking them for proof of insurance. If the drivers can’t prove that they are insured, their licenses will be suspended. However, this has not deterred motorists from driving around without the proper insurance coverage.

In the US alone, 13% of drivers are uninsured. In Florida, the number is an astonishing 26.7%. About 1 out of every 7 drivers who are not at fault, ends up bearing the responsibility for their damages.

Additionally, you may get into an accident with a driver who has valid insurance, but the policy limit of the insurance is not ample for all the damages that you incur In such cases, you will have to shell out your own money to cover the costs incurred by the at-fault driver and this can be draining.

What is compensated by uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?

The core advantage of adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your policy is that although you may have other personal injury coverage, in most cases they can be limited to what can be compensated and you may have to take money from your own pockets to cover the damages if the at-fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured.

In Florida, an uninsured motorist coverage only compensates you for personal injuries you or your passengers incur — Other states may include policies that will cover vehicle damages. In case you suffer bodily injuries, and the at-fault driver takes off, or you discover that he or she is not insured, you may claim your personal injury compensation under uninsured motorist bodily injury plan.

Because bodily injury coverage is not required in Florida, most drivers decline it to save money and that’s one of the main reasons you should have uninsured motorist coverage. UM only covers injuries sustained when the crash caused by an at-fault driver with no bodily injury coverage or not enough bodily injury coverage to cover the injuries.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers some of the expenses that are not covered under a regular insurance policy. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is optional or additional coverage that provides compensation when the at-fault driver is either uninsured or has a policy with insufficient benefits. Some of the things covered by UM/UIM are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Pain and suffering

Who needs UM/UIM coverage?

Technically, everyone should have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Although some states have compulsory insurance policy plans for drivers for either or both of the coverages, most states still leave it up to the drivers to decide what type of insurance coverage to choose.

However, if your state does not have mandatory laws requiring UM/UIM coverage, then you must consider whether you will need it or not. Before considering to accept any insurance policy, you should consider whether the policy would provide adequate coverage for you and your vehicle in case of an accident — whether tragic or even minor.

The Bottom-line on UM/UIM

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage plans may add a few more dollars into your monthly premium, but you also have to juggle with the risks of not being covered. Although you may incur a little more monthly expenses, the benefits can be life-changing, especially if you are ever involved in a serious accident.

Contact the Bodden and Bennett Law Group if you are ever in an auto accident. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for your compensation.