Many people get into a situation where the total of their damages (medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, and future recommended care) is greater than the available insurance under the at-fault driver’s policy. To put that another way, the at-fault policy might only have $50,000 in bodily injury coverage, and the accident victim has more than $50,000 in damages. So, what do you do?
Underinsured Motorist or UIM Coverage was created for just this situation. If you obtain the full amount of available insurance under the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage, that opens the door for you to make an underinsured motorist claim on your own insurance policy. The amount of UIM coverage available depends entirely on how much you pay for. If you have UIM coverage, you will at a minimum have coverage equal to your bodily injury coverage. To say that another way, If you have Bodily Injury coverage in the amount of $100,000 and you also have UIM coverage, you will also have at least $100,000 in UIM coverage.
I am often asked why someone would want to make a UIM claim when doing so will increase the premium. People see this as being penalized for an accident that was not their fault. The good news is that your premium will not go up for making a UIM claim because you are not at-fault for the accident. UCA 31A-19a-212. So, don’t let that be an obstacle to getting benefits you pay for.
But a word of caution, UIM coverage can be waived. Sometimes in an effort to lower their auto insurance premiums, people will waive UIM coverage. I had a client who did not know she had done this and had medical bills in excess of the available bodily injury coverage. Her choice put her in a difficult financial situation because she owed more money than she could get through the bodily injury coverage. We helped her make the best out of that situation. But, the story is a lesson for us all. Make sure you have UIM coverage, and make sure it is in an amount that gives you plenty of room to work if you get hit by someone with low insurance limits.
If you have questions about your specific case, contact us at 801-849-3664 to schedule a free consultation where you can get your questions answered by a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer.