underinsured motorist coverageIn 2007, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that traffic accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists cost other drivers nearly $10.8 billion.  Despite state laws that require drivers to carry an auto insurance policy, the Insurance Research Council has found that one in seven drivers in the U.S.A. still go without it.

Drivers with tarnished driving records are the most likely to go without coverage because they don’t want to pay the high premiums associated with their previous accidents or traffic violations. These drivers are dangerous on the road and cause the largest percentage of accidents. To protect yourself and your family from accidents with these uninsured motorists, make sure that your auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy will help protect you and your family in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.  It can provide compensation for losses including bodily injury and property damages that cannot be covered by the driver who caused the crash.

Why Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If the driver at fault in an accident is uninsured, the victims of the crash are left to cover their own vehicle repairs.  An uninsured driver also will not have coverage to help pay for medical expenses or other losses related to the crash.  Without uninsured motorist coverage, you will face the financial burdens of damages on your own.

Uninsured motorist coverage may also provide protection for a hit and run accident or if your car is involved in an accident with a stolen vehicle.

Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage as part of your policy can afford coverage for you and all members of your household.  It could also cover any of your younger children who do not live with you or your children who live away at college.

Specific coverage details will vary, so be sure to discuss your options with your insurance company.

How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do You Need?

Missouri and Illinois require its motorists to carry the minimum amount of uninsured motorists coverage, $25,000 and $20,000, respectively. That being said, the decision to purchase additional coverage is a personal preference, and there are several things to take into consideration when making your choice.  Often, the amount of uninsured motorist coverage you need will be tied to the amount of liability insurance that you can afford. Insurance companies typically only issue uninsured benefits that are equal to or less than your liability limits.

Some insurance companies may automatically issue a lower amount if you have higher liability limits, but it is recommended that your uninsured motorist benefits be raised to match your liability policy limit.  You should maintain at least as much protection for you and your family as you purchase for the protection of others.

If you are a high-income earner, consider purchasing substantial uninsured motorist protection in case you sustain a prolonged injury that will impair your earning capacity.

In any event, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are designed to protect you from financial strain that can result from an auto accident.  We recommend that you do your own research and speak with your insurance agent to determine how much coverage you need for you and your family.

If you or someone you know needs legal representation or advice in an uninsured motorist case, contact Lieser Law Firm today.