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Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Personal Injury Claims

April 28, 2014 General

We represent people injured in vehicle accidents. We see far too many suffering severe financial problems because they didn’t have sufficient auto insurance coverage at the time of the accident.

By law, all Pennsylvania drivers are required to have auto insurance. Though it’s illegal to drive without it, too many people still do. The Insurance Research Council estimates that nationwide 14% of motorists don’t carry auto insurance. Their estimate for Pennsylvania is 7%. If this estimate is accurate, next time you drive somewhere in Pennsylvania, consider the fact that for every hundred cars that go by you, seven have no insurance.

If one of those seven collides into you, if you have optional Uninsured Motorist coverage and Underinsured Motorist coverage (or UM/UIM coverage) on your auto policy, it should protect you financially.

This coverage shouldn’t increase your premium significantly. Not signing up for this coverage, in the event you have an accident with someone who is not insured, or under insured, could cost you thousands of dollars that otherwise could have been available for you. This coverage can apply when you or your family members are injured in a car accident (as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or even the victim of a hit-and-run accident).

We suggest you carry the following UM/UIM coverage:

  • $100,000 per person
  • $300,000 per occurrence

If you have UM/UIM at these levels and you’re injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, your insurance company will pay you for all recoverable damages up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence (more if you can stack your policy (if you have more than one vehicle on the same policy and choose to stack your coverage, your UM/UIM coverage equals the sum of the coverage for all the vehicles).

If you don’t have this coverage and the uninsured driver has no assets (equity in a house, owns a business, other cars, has substantial amounts of money or investments), there may be no way for you to receive any compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical bills and damage to your vehicle. If the accident and injuries are serious enough, this could be a financially life altering event, and not for the better.

Even if the other driver does have assets, there may not be enough to cover your losses. Legal action against an individual can often be time consuming and ultimately not very fruitful. Most of us with substantial assets are wise enough to protect ourselves with insurance and have enough money to buy it.

Find your insurance policy, and/or speak to your insurance agent to see if you have UM/UIM coverage.

  • If not, purchase it,
  • If you have it, make sure the coverage levels are high enough, and
  • If you have more than one vehicle, ask your agent about stacking these benefits to get the most from your premium.

You can change your policy at any time. You don’t have to wait for a renewal. If you wait to look into this after you have an accident, it’s too late.

If you have any questions about auto insurance, or have been injured in a vehicle accident and need help, contact us so we can discuss your concerns.