The Importance of Having Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

When a negligent driver who is not insured or who does not have adequate insurance coverage crosses over the center line and hits you head-on, causing you permanent injuries, the need for surgery, and six months off work:

1) who will pay for your medical expenses?;

2) who will pay your lost earnings?;

3) who will pay for the permanent effect on your quality of life?;

4) who will pay for your pain and suffering?

If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy, it will pay for your injuries and damages caused by an uninsured driver who is responsible for the collision. A negligent driver who only has the minimum state-required insurance limit of liability on his or her policy (which in Ohio is $25,000) is called an underinsured driver.  Underinsured drivers have only minimal coverage to protect you from the auto accident they caused. Their minimal insurance coverage will not always provide you with adequate compensation to pay for your injuries and damages.

In the event, you are hit by an uninsured motorist, and you do not have your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you will have no insurance to cover you for all of your losses.  As such, you are on your own, and you must pay for your losses, except for allowed claims to your health insurer.  When the negligent driver who caused the accident only has a state minimum policy, and you do not have uninsured/ underinsured coverage, the most you will recover from the driver who caused the accident is up to $25,000 for your medical claim and up to $12,500 for the property damage to your vehicle.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is available to you through your own insurance policy your insurance will pay for all of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and permanent damages up to your own policy limits in the event the motorist at fault in the collision is either uninsured or underinsured. Uninsured/underinsured coverage (hereinafter “UM/UIM”) not only covers you but also the resident members of your family and your passengers up to the limits of your policy.

You and your family members are also protected with uninsured/underinsured coverage under your own policy. If you are a pedestrian and you are struck by an uninsured/underinsured motorist vehicle, you will be covered with UM/UIM coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is essential because, in Ohio, over 15% of drivers are uninsured.  Senate Bill 97, which went into effect on October 31, 2001, abolished the mandatory offering of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to Ohio residents. As of October 31, 2001, insurance companies are no longer required to offer you uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. By eliminating the requirement that your insurance company must offer you UM/UIM coverage, we are seeing more and more insurance policies that do not provide our clients with this coverage.

Talk to your insurance agent today.  Make sure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You should carry the same amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limits as you have with your liability motorist coverage.  If you have $100,000 in liability limits, you should have $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured limits. Never let your insurance agent talk you into lower limits for this important coverage.

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