Underinsured uninsured motorist coverage is the best insurance you can purchase. Other than automobile accidents involving negligently operated commercial trucks on our highways, the typical automobile accident seen in our office arises out of the careless operation of a vehicle by either an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It is as though the is underinsured uninsured motorist knows that they have so little to lose financially. After all, if they injure you or kill you, all they get is a ticket from law-enforcement and a judgment that is uncollectible and dischargeable in bankruptcy. So how can you best protect yourself from the uninsured underinsured motorist?
If you are safe driver, purchase the highest limit of liability insurance available through your carrier. Hopefully, you can afford at least coverage in the amount of $500,000, and some policies provide up to $1 million in coverage. For a very small price you can add to your policy underinsured uninsured motorist coverage. You might be offered a waiver for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but please do not sign such, protect you and your family. Why would you pay for liability coverage to protect others if you injure them, but elect to not include underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, which can be purchased for pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of purchasing liability insurance, to protect yourself.
So very often our clients who are seriously injured find that the person that injured them was either an uninsured/underinsured motorist, so that their net recovery for their injuries comes woefully short of fully compensating them. After all, out of the recovery, depending upon the applicable laws and the type of insurer, a significant portion of the money recovered from the defendant or negligent driver, may very well have to be paid back to the agency or entity that paid the medical bills. In today’s world, it is not unusual for a seriously injured person to suffer medical bills well close to $100,000. Even if the negligent party had $100,000 in coverage, the bottom line is that your recovery may be minimal unless you have uninsured underinsured motorist coverage.
When I was in-house counsel for an national insurance company, I was often given a file where one of our insureds was making a claim against their policy for underinsured uninsured motorist coverage. It was my assignment to defend the insurance company against the claim made by our insured. The point of this story being that if you make a claim for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, be prepared for the fact that the soft and kindly spoken claims adjuster is charged with the duty of trying to minimize recovery even though it is your policy. In fact, the claims adjuster is not on your side, but you are seen as someone making an unjustified demand against your own policy. It is this role reversal where your insurance company advocates or fights against your claim that justifies hiring an attorney on your behalf to make the opposite argument from that of the adjuster on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The funds available under your underinsured uninsured motorist coverage are available to you for full compensation for pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, past and future wage loss or loss of earning capacity, and any other damages to which you might have been entitled from the negligent driver if that person had been adequately insured. If you are driving a company vehicle at the time you were injured, you may well want to find out if your employer had the foresight to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. If you are a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone else, a vehicle you do not own, you may be entitled to underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage under that vehicle, as well as your own vehicle.
The bottom line is that there simply are too many dangerous drivers who were uninsured underinsured motorist are financially irresponsible. Please do yourself and your family a favor by purchasing underinsured uninsured motorist coverage.