Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: Best practices

Outside of defensive driving, there’s not much you can do to prevent a car crash caused by someone else’s recklessness. However, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself from the consequences of being hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

bad driver rear-ending someone

How can I protect myself from an uninsured or underinsured driver?

There are options to keep you and your family safe.

#1 – Read the declarations page

The first thing you can do is to find and read the declarations page (sometimes referred to as a “dec page”) of your family’s automobile insurance policy. The declarations page is often found at the very beginning. It has the name of the insurance company at the top, your name and address as the insured, and a listing of all the vehicles insured by the policy. Near each vehicle listed, you will find the coverage provided by the policy.

#2 – Liability coverage: Do the math

The next thing to do is to determine whether you have sufficient limits of insurance coverage on your policy. The two basic coverages on every policy are liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured coverage. Liability coverage, usually listed in an amount such as 30/60, 60/100, or 100/300. This means that if you are at fault and hit someone, the company will pay up to these limit amounts, multiplied by $1000.

For example, 30/60 means that your insurance company will pay up to $30,000 for any one person injured in the accident, and up to $60,000 total for all persons injured in one crash. 30/60 is the minimum limit required by Virginia law and the minimum you can have. That being said, $30,000 does not go very far when one considers the cost of medical care.

injured in a car accident

#3 – Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage: Do the math 

The other required coverage is uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Your insurance company must provide UM/UIM limits equal to the liability limits, unless you choose lower UM/UIM limits.

This is not recommended. UM/UIM coverage is all that stands between you and possible financial disaster if you or a family member are seriously hurt in a car crash.UM/UIM coverage obligates your company to step in and provide insurance up to your UM/UIM policy limits if the other driver who causes injury has no insurance or has a lower limit than you do. UM/UIM coverage supports every member of your household even if you or another member is hurt as a passenger in someone else’s car.

So look at your UM/UIM coverage. What if you were badly hurt in a crash and couldn’t work for several months? Is the amount of your UM/UIM coverage adequate to compensate you for your injuries and losses? If not, call your agent and ask about increasing the limits. The cost of additional coverage is surprisingly little, when you consider the possibility of an out-of-control driver that may not be insured.

We can help

Allen & Allen is well-versed in the nuances of insurance coverage. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.  Call the car accident lawyers at Allen & Allen today for a free case evaluation, at 866-388-1307.