Picture this: 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 permanent injury, the need for surgery, and six months off work.
Who will pay for your hospital and physician bills? What about your lost earnings? There’s also the permanent effect on your quality of life, pain, and suffering to consider.
Uninsured vs. Underinsured?
If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy, it will help 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 $12,500) 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.
Why You Need to Protect Yourself
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 fund to compensate you for 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 motorist 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 $12,500 for your medical claim and $7,500 for the property damage to your vehicle.
On the other hand, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage available to you through your own insurance policy would pay for all of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent damages up to your own policy limits.
Protecting Your Family & Passengers
Uninsured/underinsured coverage 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 pedestrians and are struck by an uninsured/underinsured motorist vehicle.
An Increasing Number of Issues
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is essential because in Ohio, as 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. We are seeing more and more insurance policies that do not provide clients with this coverage.
Talk to your insurance agent today. Make sure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. We recommend carrying 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 uninsured/underinsured coverage.