What is Underinsurance and why is it so important?February 2, 2023
It’s incredibly important to understand that underinsurance coverage is very different from uninsured coverage.– Ernie Ueligger, injury law attorney
Countless numbers of times, injury attorney Ernie Ueligger has had to look a client in the eyes and explain to them that the at-fault driver who hit them only had minimum coverage of $25,000.00. With piles of medical bills stacked on physical suffering and pain stacked on missed time from work, the next question is usually the same: “Then what?”
Often times, there are no other options. Sometimes we can negotiate medical bills down. Sometimes we can find avenues of recovery from other sources, but often times, an injured client is stuck with the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage UNLESS the injured client has underinsurance coverage to protect them. This underinsurance coverage is commonly referred to as UIM coverage.
UIM coverage is a policy that you can buy with your own liability policy from your car insurance coverage carrier. Underinsurance coverage protects you by providing you a policy of insurance to recover from if your damages (i.e., your harms and losses –financial, emotional, and physical) are greater than the at-fault party’s insurance coverage.
For example, say Bad Driver rear-ends Client. Client suffers severe whiplash, which causes major neck problems. Client has surgery, follow-ups, and physical therapy to the tune of $100,000.00. Jones and Ueligger Law begins negotiation with Bad Driver’s insurance company and is promptly informed that Bad Driver only has $25,000.00 of policy limits, and that is all Bad Driver’s insurance is responsible for paying. Luckily for Client, she has Underinsurance Coverage (UIM) through her own insurance company. Jones and Ueligger Law now begins negotiations with Client’s insurance company for the damages (i.e., harms and losses suffered by Client) that are in excess of the $25,000.00 received from Bad Driver’s insurance. You can see here that having UIM coverage can means tens of thousands of dollars to Client (or potentially even more).
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people driving around with the idea that they are “fully insured,” which means different things to different people. Many insurance agents do not discuss UIM coverage with their insureds and the fact that the cost for the UIM coverage is usually fractional compared to the coverage it provides. It’s also important to note that underinsurance coverage is very different from uninsured coverage. If you have not discussed UIM coverage with your insurance agent, you should do so sooner than later to ensure you protect yourself from a bad driver with low policy limits.
If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident, contact the injury lawyers at Jones & Ueligger Law today. We can help make sure both the other driver’s insurance company, and perhaps even your own insurance company, pay what they should to make you whole.