Let's talk about: Underinsured Motorist Insurance coverage

 

This post was submitted by Attorney Kirby Mouser of The Baim Law Firm in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Underinsured motorist coverage is an amount of insurance to cover expenses or injuries caused by another party who does not have enough insurance coverage to pay all of your losses.

If you are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and lose your job or your ability to work, have medical expenses or the need for long-term treatment or permanent injuries, it is very possible that the responsible party, the party who caused your injuries, will not have enough insurance coverage of their own. If the person who causes your damages only carries the” State Legal Minimum” of liability insurance (usually $25,000 in Arkansas) you may suffer a great deal of loss that is not repaid. Even a short stay in a hospital can be more than $25,000. Recently my law firm handled an auto collision case in which our client spent five days in the hospital after he was hit and the bill was $41,555.31. Some states you might drive through may have even lower liability limits as minimum coverage limits.

If you have “Underinsured” motorist coverage on your policy, that coverage would provide benefits to cover medical expenses, wage loss, property damage as well as pain and suffering that was not covered by the liability limits of the responsible party’s insurance.

Typically, insurance carriers will not allow you to purchase more underinsured motorist coverage than the bodily injury liability limits on your own policy. Insurance companies that sell insurance in many states are required to offer Uninsured and Underinsured coverage. Other states may vary, however it is a common requirement. There is an extra cost but it is usually one of the smallest costs of the policy. Some carriers may only offer uninsured coverage and underinsured coverage if you have a special package type of policy with that insurance company.

Underinsured motorist coverage is just as helpful as Uninsured motorist coverage and is probably used as often as Uninsured motorist coverage. You should talk to your insurance agent and determine the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that you would reasonably need (above your state’s minimum coverage requirement) to cover your losses in the event of a serious accident. Remember wage or earnings loss should be included as well as medical expense. Wage and earnings loss can also be covered by having “Disability or Wage Coverage built into your policy as well.

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