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Danny Lehane
Danny Lehane
Attorney • (888) 295-7409

WHAT IS UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE AND DO YOU NEED IT?

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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM on your policy) is offered by insurance carriers.  If you are like I was before I took the time to learn what coverages I was paying for, you might not be aware of the insurance coverages you purchased or declined to purchase.  I had no idea what my coverages were and what each provided.  All I knew is there was some sort of coverage for something called UM/UIM.  All I wanted was coverage for when I caused a wreck.  All that other stuff that I paid to have coverage for did not matter, or so I thought.  I was told that if I declined to obtain the UM/UIM coverage, I had to sign a waiver stating I formally declined this type of coverage.  That told me that even though it was the last coverage listed on my list of coverages and even though it was not expensive compared to the liability premium, I probably needed the UM/UIM coverage.

So, what exactly is UM/UIM coverage?  Simply put it is the coverage that  protects you against all the drivers on the road, in parking lots, etc.  It is insurance coverage that protects you from other drivers as opposed to the liability coverage that protects other drivers from you.  It is precisely what the coverage implies: coverage to protect you against uninsured or underinsured drivers.    UM/UIM is  protection you can purchase so if you are in a wreck involving a vehicle, you are not solely relying on the coverage on the vehicle that hit you.  UM/UIM applies when there is an injury involving a motor vehicle.  I have handled cases where UM/UIM coverage applied to persons injured from a motor vehicle while the person was  walking in a parking lot, walking on a sidewalk,  riding a bike, etc.

UM/UIM is not expensive.  Declining UM/UIM coverage to save a little money is, well, stupid.  Any so-called insurance expert or financial “advisor” that tells you otherwise is providing bad advice.  Any insurance carrier/agent that implies or flat out tells you the UM/UIM coverage is not needed, is not looking out for your best interest.  Time and time again, I see insureds of the same insurance carriers that have only liability coverage and no other coverage, including the UM/UIM coverage.  It is not a coincidence.

Review your policy coverages.  Look at what amount you are paying for liability coverage versus UM/UIM coverage.  UM/UIM is not expensive.  If your policy does not have the UM/UIM coverage, get the coverage IMMEDIATELY!  If you have UM/UIM coverage but it is an amount less than your liability coverage, increase the coverage for the same amount as the liability coverage.  In Alabama, the UM/UIM coverages can be “stacked”, and the UM/UIM increased (if there are other vehicles on the policy covered by UM/UIM or covered under another policy with the same carrier but that is another blog for another day).

The point of this blog is to motivate any and all who do not have UM/UIM coverage to get the coverage before the person gets in another vehicle.    UM/UIM coverage protects you against a world of uninsured and underinsured drivers.  It is coverage where you can control the amount of coverage for you and you are not relying on chance and hope that a driver of another vehicle injuring you has adequate coverage.