A client of ours was in a parking lot waiting kindly and patiently for a car ahead of him to back out safely so they can both be on their way.
Ironically, another driver who had been parked (to the left of our client) backed out and hit the left rear side of our client’s car.
Imagine that! Our client was being a model citizen by letting someone else back out, and boom, our client gets hit by a negligent driver who failed to turn his head to get a full view of his rear.
To top it all off, the driver who hit our client did not have car insurance.
This happens all too commonly, and in recent court rulings, a new precedent has been set to address uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM). What does this mean for you as a driver?
It means that insurance agents will be providing very clear details on what UIM coverage is, when it is needed, and what may happen if you decline UIM coverage and an accident with an underinsured driver occurs.
What is uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) is coverage that comes into play if an accident happens and the person who causes the accident either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully cover the damages.
It’s important to note that there are two different types of UIM policies: UIM bodily injury and UIM property damage.
UIM bodily injury is similar to bodily injury coverage in liability insurance. If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the damages, then UIM bodily insurance will pay for medical bills and other injury related expenses. It will also provide coverage in the case that the at-fault driver can’t be identified, i.e. a hit-and-run.
UIM property damage covers payment for vehicle repairs if the person who hit you doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all. Unlike UIM bodily injury, UIM property damage won’t provide coverage if the at-fault driver can’t be identified, so no coverage for a hit-and-run. One thing to note is that UIM property damage isn’t required in any state and it may not be necessary if you have collision and comprehensive coverage.
Why should you consider UIM property damage and UIM bodily damage coverage?
While at first it may seem unnecessary to purchase either of these policies, it’s important to consider potential scenarios where both policies can save you a lot of money.
For example, let’s say you drive an $80,000 Mercedes and are in an accident with an insured driver with minimum state coverage. The damages total $40,000. While the driver at-fault does have insurance, they only have $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. If you do not have UIM property damage coverage, you are responsible for the remaining $25,000 balance to repair the vehicle.
UIM bodily injury coverage comes into play in a similar way. Let’s say in the above scenario, you happen to suffer from a broken arm from the car accident. If the costs related to your broken arm exceed the at-fault driver’s policy coverage, you will be stuck with the remaining costs. With UIM bodily injury coverage, the remaining costs would be covered and you would pay nothing out of pocket. UIM bodily injury coverage can be selected regardless of the other policy coverage.
Do you need UIM bodily injury or UIM property damage coverage?
The best way way to find out if you need these two coverages is to chat with your insurance advisor.
(Toll free: 844-271-8508) They can identify any potential gaps in your coverage. Because of recent court rulings regarding these two policies, insurance advisors will be very thorough while explaining these two types of coverage and ensuring you understand the benefits or downfalls of not purchasing either policy.
It’s tough to predict the future, but with the right coverage it’s comforting to know that you are covered no matter what situation or accident arises.