What is the difference between uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage?
I tend to get this question frequently. First, I’d like to give a brief introduction to what uninsured motorist coverage really is. At its most basic level, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a policy that can be used after an automobile collision if the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries.
With that being said, there is a slight difference between uninsured and underinsured coverage.
Uninsured coverage, commonly known as “UM,” is a policy that can be purchased in addition to your automobile policy. This additional policy provides coverage for a driver and any passengers in your vehicle if and when a collision occurs as a result of a negligent driver who does not have any automobile insurance at all. This type of policy is extremely helpful when you are hit by someone with no insurance, a suspended driver’s license or hit-and-run collisions.
On the other hand, assume that the negligent driver who caused the collision has very little insurance coverage. This is when underinsured motorist coverage, commonly referred to as “UIM,” would be triggered. In my experience, I have commonly seen clients who have been hit by a driver with only $10,000 worth of bodily injury coverage. However, sadly, my clients’ injuries frequently surpass $10,000. It is at this point when the negligent driver’s insurance policy is exhausted that the importance of an underinsured motorist policy becomes important.
The importance of having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
Statistically, according to the Florida Insurance Council, Florida ranks among the top five states with the highest number of uninsured drivers. Sadly, Florida drivers are the fifth highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation ranking at a staggering 23% of uninsured drivers. Basically, one in four drivers do not have bodily injury insurance. Personally, I am not willing to risk being involved in an accident without uninsured motorist coverage. The safety of my family depends on my uninsured motorist coverage. We don’t get to pick who we are involved in a collision with, but we can take steps to protect ourselves if it happens.
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles