Auto Accident Law – Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage


Auto Accident Law Pennsylvania: Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Protection – What You Don’t Know (And Shouldn’t Buy) Could Hurt Your Business

There are many types of insurance that individuals can buy, including life insurance, long term disability, and home owner’s insurance. Individuals should have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect themselves and their families. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides benefits for an individual who is injured by another driver without insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage covers an individual who is hurt by another driver and is not covered by their insurance.

An example that illustrates the importance these coverages is simple. Imagine yourself carefully driving down the road and staying within the posted speed limit. A car in front of you crosses the center line and hits your vehicle head-on. You sustain serious injuries to your body and are unable to work for a year. The accident leaves you financially devastated. You also face the possibility of suffering for your entire life and possibly a diminished ability to work. Assume that the driver responsible for all this accident has no automobile insurance. You will not be able to recover if you don’t have UM coverage on your auto policy. This will leave you facing the economic consequences of the other driver’s reckless conduct. Assume that the other driver has insurance and that the policy is for $15,000. You will only be able to recover $15,000 if you don’t have UIM coverage. This will not compensate you for the loss.

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If you have purchased UM or UIM coverage through your own insurance policy, you can make a claim on that policy to recover your financial losses and compensation for your injuries. You could get up to $500,000 in compensation if the other driver was not insured for $500,000 of UM coverage. You could potentially recover $515,000. If you had $15,000 less coverage than the other driver, your potential fund would be $500,000, or $15,000 more than the $15,000 coverage.

Brokers and insurance agents may not always be able to explain the importance of UIM and UM insurance. The information available to consumers when they purchase auto insurance online is often much less detailed. Insurance consumers who are not well-informed often fall prey to two things: the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driving and the insufficient coverage they have on their own insurance policies.

Pennsylvania law places limits on the amount you can purchase for UM/UIM coverage. The policy cannot have more liability coverage than the amount of UM/UIM coverage. Consumers are not permitted to cover themselves more than others for their own negligence. But, you can “stack” coverage. If an individual insures three vehicles, he/she can buy $500,000 liability coverage and $500,000 UM/UIM coverage. The “stacking” option allows the consumer to multiply the $500,000 in UM/UIM coverage with the number of vehicles, giving them a total coverage of $1,500,000. It is wise to carefully analyze one’s automobile insurance coverages and pay a little more for adequate U/M coverage. This will help protect you and your family from the negative effects of uninsured or underinsured drivers.

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