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Scott McDonald and Associates PLLC

What is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance?

What would you do if you were injured in a Washington state car accident only to find out that the driver who caused the accident had no or not enough automobile insurance?  Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is a way for you to protect yourself and your family against irresponsible drivers who drive without insurance or without adequate insurance coverage. 

UIM insurance covers you in the event that a person who causes a car accident in which you are injured has little or no liability insurance.  UIM insurance is designed to take the place of the at-fault person who had no insurance or not enough insurance.  

Washington state requires drivers to have automobile insurance. Drivers are only required to have $25,000 in liability insurance. Many people look no further than what the monthly premiums will be for the minimum insurance needed.

If you're seriously hurt in a car accident your medical bills can quickly add up to ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars or more depending on surgeries needed or other serious type of injuries.  If the person at fault only had $25,000 in insurance coverage, there may not be enough to pay your medical bills, let alone your lost wages or fairly compensate you for any permanent injuries that may linger on for the rest of your life. 

However, for example, assume you're seriously injured and have $30,000 in medical bills and have missed six months of work losing $25,000 in wages.  If you have UIM insurance with a limit of $300,000 and the at-fault driver only had $25,000 of liability insurance, then the at-fault driver's insurance will pay its policy limits of $25,000 to you.  At that point your UIM insurance will step in and be responsible for paying the remaining medical bills, lost wages, other out-of-pocket expense, and fairly compensate you for your injuries.  

Insurance Buying Tip:

Review your own automobile insurance policy. You will find a "declarations page" which lists the various types of insurance coverage you have along with the premiums you are paying for each. If you cannot find your declarations page, call your agent and get her/him to send you a copy. 

The two most important items on that page are the limits of the liability coverage and the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage. It will usually say something like $25,000/$50,000 or $100,000/$300,000 or $300,000/$500,000. 

Liability coverage is that amount of money your insurance company would pay in the event that you caused a car accident which resulted in an injury to another person. This coverage protects your personal assets. We strongly recommend that your liability coverage be at least $300,000.  In today's world of soaring medical costs, a serious collision can cause injuries with medical bills in excess of $100,000 which is the policy limit many people tend to carry.

In hard financial times some people carry insurance in amounts less than $100,000.  Call your insurance agent.  You may be surprised to learn that the cost of increasing your coverage to $300,000 or even $500,000 is not that much.