Personal Insurance

What is Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage that is highly recommended to have on your auto policy. So what is it, how does it protect you, and why would you want to pay the additional premium for this coverage?

Explanation of Coverage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you financially in the event you are injured or your vehicle is damaged by another party who is uninsured or is carrying lower liability limits than the amount of damage they caused.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage will assist you in paying for bodily injury that you or your passengers sustain in an accident caused by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to fully compensate for the injuries they cause. This coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other general damages that occur as a result of an accident.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage will assist you in paying for physical damage to your vehicle in an accident caused by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the expense of repairs or replacement.  Depending on your policy, this coverage may also pay for damages to other personal property such as your home, a fence, or personal items (laptop, cell phone, etc.).

The sad truth is there are more uninsured and underinsured drivers than you may realize. In fact, 12.6 percent of all U.S. drivers are uninsured, and in 2012 alone uninsured motorist claims totaled $2.6 billion.

The best part about this coverage is that if you have to file a claim your rates will not increase since you were not at fault.

The amount of coverage varies, so it is important to discuss your policy with your insurance agent to determine a coverage amount that is right for you.

Real-Life Scenario

A few years ago, an adolescent was hit by the vehicle he had been a passenger in immediately after getting out of the vehicle. The impact pushed the child under the front of the truck between the tires. He hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He was diagnosed with a severe concussion and suffered headaches and nausea for weeks as a result of a cracked skull. Though the driver knew he had hit the child, he left the scene and could not be located immediately. The adolescent’s parents had uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, so they filed a claim under their insurance policy. They were compensated almost immediately. This compensation assisted with medical bills that were incurred as a result of the incident. When the driver was eventually tracked down, the insurance company for the victim’s family assisted with getting compensation from the driver’s policy along with reimbursement for what had already been paid out. This is a fine example of the importance of making sure you have uninsured and underinsured coverage on your auto insurance policy.

Do you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy? Contact your Leavitt Group insurance agent for a policy review today.

Rhonda Bolton is a personal lines account executive with Leavitt Great West Insurance Services. She has been licensed in property and casualty insurance since 2007 and has been with Leavitt Great West since 2013. Rhonda focuses on home and auto insurance and has significant prior experience with flood insurance. Rhonda will begin working towards earning the Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation beginning in September 2016.