When one obtains a policy of motor vehicle insurance, they are required to choose between carrying “Uninsured” (UM) and “Underinsured” (UIM) motor vehicle benefits or choosing against carrying such coverage. Although you may opt-out of carrying UM and UIM coverage, the benefits greatly outweighs the risks.

UM Coverage: UM coverage protects you from injuries you suffer as a result of a motor vehicle crash caused by another driver who does not carry motor vehicle insurance. Although it is required in all states to carry motor vehicle insurance coverage, the reality is that many drivers operate vehicles each day without any insurance coverage. If you are harmed in a motor vehicle crash caused by an uninsured driver, you must have UM coverage on your own car insurance policy in order to make a claim for compensation. By carrying UM coverage, you protect yourself from the possibility of being hit by a driver who unknown to you has violated the law by failing to maintain car insurance coverage.

Underinsured Coverage: UIM coverage protects you from injuries you suffer as a result of a motor vehicle crash which was caused by another driver who does not maintain enough car insurance coverage to adequately compensate you for those injuries. For example, if you are involved in a serious car crash which results in significant injuries and extremely large medical bills and the person who caused you these injuries only maintains a minimal policy of insurance, you may not be able to be fully compensated for your injuries. UIM coverage allows you to make a claim against your own car insurance company for the additional compensation you are entitled to over and above what you are able to collect from the person who caused the crash.

By making a UM or UIM claim, you are actually making a claim against your own car insurance company. Although the idea of making a claim against your own insurance company may seem daunting, it is important to recognize that your car insurance rates cannot go up simply because you made this type of claim, so long as the incident which caused you injuries was not your fault. Carrying UM and UIM coverage is essentially the only way to protect yourself against the unknown – something you won’t come to learn until it is too late. Both types of coverage extend to your family members who reside with you along with any other person in your vehicle at the time of the crash.

The decision to carry UM and UIM coverage should be a simple one. The cost for choosing these elective forms of coverage is only a minimum increase to your car insurance rates and as demonstrated above, the benefits of having this type of coverage can be life-altering in the event you are involved in a motor vehicle crash.

By: Jordan Schlossberg