Car accidents can be expensive. The cost of fixing the car, medical expenses, rehabilitative costs such as physical therapy, lost earnings – all of this can add up very quickly. If you were injured in a car accident, which was someone else’s fault, then, you should not have to take the loss. The at-fault party’s insurance company should pay for the damages you have incurred. However, if you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have auto insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to cover your losses, who pays?
The Issue of Uninsured Motorists
The problem of uninsured drivers is a huge problem in California and nationwide. One in seven drivers in the country are uninsured, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Nationwide 13.8 percent of motorists are uninsured, a number that has climbed during the economic downturn as many financially-pressed Americans allowed their insurance to lapse. In 2007, insured drivers paid a hefty price for fellow motorists who have no policies — $10.8 billion — a number that continues to increase.
Insurance requirements vary by state. For example, if you are a driver in California, the minimum liability coverage is $15,000 of bodily injury protection person, $30,000 of bodily injury protection per accident and $5,000 of property damage per accident. However, there are times when the at-fault driver is uninsured or his or her insurance is not enough to cover your losses.
Why UIM Coverage is Critical
This is why it is critical that you have uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). If an uninsured motorist strikes your vehicle and you did not have this coverage, you may not be able to obtain full compensation for your medical expenses that are directly related to the crash. As a California personal injury lawyer who represents injured car accident victims, I recommend UIM coverage to everyone. The expenses you face after a car accident can be significant.
Look at it this way. If you have liability insurance coverage, it protects anyone whom you hit. UIM coverage includes everyone in the insured’s household even if that person’s name is not on the policy. For example, if your 10-year-old daughter is struck by a hit-and-run driver while walking to school, she should be covered under the uninsured motorist clause of your auto insurance policy. UIM coverage is something you take in addition to what you are required under the law. But this type of coverage is absolutely worth it because it protects you and your family.
Related: How to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.