What is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and why should you care? Before answering that question, some quick background might help. First, it’s important to note that all auto drivers must purchase mandatory coverage to ensure that some funds are available if the driver injures others. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey the minimum required coverage for auto insurance is only $15,000. Without some additional coverage of your own, that is the most you can expect to receive if injured in an accident, unless you are injured by someone who has elected higher coverage limits.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, known as UM/UIM coverage is designed to fill this gap. In the event that your injuries are caused by someone with no insurance or with limited insurance, your own auto policy provides benefits to you through the UM/UIM coverage (if you elect that coverage). The reason why many people don’t elect that extra coverage is twofold, it costs more money and secondly, it is optional – not mandatory. Therefore you need to be savvy with your insurance agent and REQUEST the price to add this type of coverage.
To determine whether your current auto policy includes UM/UIM motorist coverage you simply must find the “declaration page” of your auto policy (the first page that lists the amounts of coverage). If you can’t find the dec page (the industry term of art), call your agent and have them send you a copy. You should always carry the maximum that you can afford (carriers usually offer at least $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per occurrence -with the catch that usually you can’t exceed your liability coverage).
In Pennsylvania, UM/UIM coverage only covers personal injury, not property damage (you need collision coverage for that). In New Jersey, however UM/UIM coverage often includes property damage. While insurance is not an exciting topic, it is one you will care deeply about in the event of a serious auto or bike accident.
UM/UIM coverage is ultimately insurance to protect you from the many drivers out there without sufficient insurance coverage. If you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver who is uninsured or underinsured, we invite you to contact us at Piscitello Law today. Our dedicated and experienced Philadelphia auto accident lawyers are ready to assess your claim and exhaust every avenue towards recovering the relief you deserve.
Want to learn more about how our firm can help you in the aftermath of your accident? Call us today.