Understanding Car Insurance – Volume 3 Decoding UM and UIM

How well do you understand the car insurance you rely on to protect you and your family? This is the third in a series of articles aimed at helping you to determine if you’re really protected by your insurance policy.

If you are a licensed driver, you are required by Pennsylvania law to purchase and maintain auto insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules, and there are thousands of uninsured drivers on the road across the Commonwealth every day.

By some estimates, more than seven percent of Pennsylvania driers don’t carry insurance even though they are behind the wheel.

Nationally, 13 percent – one in eight drivers – are uninsured.

This represents a risk to you and your family.

Consider what happens if you get into an accident with one of them, and it’s their fault. Even worse, what happens if you or someone in your car is hurt because of the crash?

There are ways to protect yourself. That’s where UM and UIM insurance coverage come in.

  • UM stands for uninsured motorist coverage. This is something you can opt to purchase as a supplement to your own coverage. It protects you in case someone without insurance causes an accident. Without it, being hit by an uninsured driver might mean you will be responsible for damages or medical bills if someone has been hurt. UM can also protect you if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
  • UIM stands for underinsured motorist coverage. Taking this option on your policy means you are protected if someone hits you and their coverage is too low to compensate you for damages or injuries. This is particularly important if the offending driver caused serious bodily injury to you or someone else. Without UIM, you may have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses.

Check with your insurance company about your coverage. Pennsylvania insurers are required to offer UM and UIM coverage when they issue a car insurance policy. If you don’t have it, strongly consider adding it to your policy now. After an accident, it’s too late.

Coverage limits for UM and UIM vary. So do the premiums. Typically, UM/UIM insurance adds about five percent to your annual auto insurance costs.

When you consider the statistics, it is a small price to pay if you end up in an accident cause by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Your carrier cannot increase your premiums for using this coverage.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Jack Goodrich and Associates to discuss your case. We are a nationally recognized personal injury law firm and offer a no-cost initial personal consultation. Call 412-261-GOOD (412-261-4663).

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