1. What is UM/UIM Coverage? Do I Need it?
Getting in an accident can have life-changing effects upon a person -- permanent injuries and unpaid medical bills can ruin a person's life.
This burden can be worse when the at-fault party does not have auto insurance or does not have an insurance policy sufficient to cover all damages. Under Indiana law all drivers are required to have what is known as 25/50/10 coverage, meaning they must carry minimum coverage of $25,000 for each person for bodily injury, minimum liability limit of $50,000 for each accident and a minimum of $10,000 in coverage for property damage.
Despite these laws, many drivers choose to drive unprotected. And they are out there right now on Indiana roads, ready to cause serious damage to you and your loved ones.
Indiana law tries to help this situation. Insurance laws require every insurance company who write automobile insurance policies in Indiana to offer every applicant uninsured and under insured motorist coverage in limits at least equal to the limits of liability specified in the bodily injury liability provisions of an insured's policy.
2. How Much Can I Buy of UM/UIM Coverage?
For example, if you purchase $100,000 of insurance to cover you if you are at-fault in causing an accident to another driver, your insurance company must offer you the same amount of $100,000 coverage if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It costs a little more, but it can be all the difference if you are ever struck by an uninsured driver who has caused an accident and your injuries.The law also specifies that for under insured motorist coverage, the coverage must be made available in limits not less than $50,000 and providers may not sell or provide any under insured motorist coverage less than that.
If you choose to reject this extra coverage, the law requires that he must explicitly reject or waive the coverage in writing with your agent.
3. What is UIM Coverage? Is That the Same Thing as Getting in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
No. There is a significant difference between an uninsured and under insured vehicle. An uninsured motor vehicle means a motor vehicle without liability insurance. An "underinsured" driver means one that doesn't have the minimum coverage or has less coverage than you carry in your own UM/UIM policy.
For example, imagine you have $100,000 of UIM auto coverage from your own insurance company, but get struck by a vehicle that carries only $25,000 in auto liability coverage. If you have medical bills and pain/suffering that approaches a value of $50,000, how can you recover that amount?
You can make a claim with your own insurance company to settle the difference between the $25,000 the other driver's insurance company must pay and the additional $25,000 from your own insurance company for UIM coverage you bought to protect you in exactly this situation.
4. Won't My Insurance Company Cancel Me or Hate Me for Making a Claim for UM/UIM Coverage? Won't My Premiums Go Up?
No. You bought the policy. You paid for it. Your insurance company makes money off thousands of other drivers who never make a claim. Moreover, you are protected by insurance "bad faith" laws that require your insurance company to treat you fairly when you bring a claim on your own policy.
Additionally, the amount of money you can receive for life-changing injuries will far exceed any increase in premiums through the years. If you want -- change insurance companies after making your claim.
But, you have a "right" to demand fair treatment and fair value for your injuries on your own UM/UIM coverage. It's a contract. And you lived up to your end of the deal. Now it's time for the insurance company to live up to theirs.
Plus, courts have been expanding what is recoverable under uninsured and under insured claims. In State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Jakupko, 881 N.E.2d 654 (Ind.,2008) held that an insured passengers' "emotional distress" as result of automobile accident was “sickness” and should be considered a “bodily injury” within the meaning of the UM/UIM automobile policy.
Call Shaw Law Offices to fully explain your rights. We have won many UM/UIM insurance jury trials to get our clients fair value when struck by an uninsured driver.
Call (855) 343-8325. It's Toll Free.
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