UM/UIM insurance is uninsured and under insured motorist coverage. When you’re injured in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, one of the first questions your attorney will ask is whether you have UM/UIM insurance. It may seem strange that your attorney, whose job it is to be your advocate and help you collect money from the person who injured you and/or your car, is asking about your car insurance; however, it’s a critical question.
Arizona drivers are required to have car insurance, but they are only required to cover $15,000 per person for injuries and $10,000 for property damage. If a driver who hit you only has the state minimum car insurance, he/she may not have enough insurance to pay for all your medical bills, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If that happens, you can submit a claim to your own car insurance carrier to pay your remaining bills through your UM/UIM insurance.
UM = Uninsured Motorist Coverage
It’s illegal to drive in Arizona without car insurance. Unfortunately, this law doesn’t stop 12% of Arizona drivers from driving without insurance, according to the Insurance Research Council.
If you are injured in a car accident by a driver who does not have any car insurance, your UM coverage will step into the uninsured driver’s place and pay for your injuries, bills, and other costs up to the maximum amount allowed by your UM policy. The more UM insurance you have, the more it can cover your expenses if the other driver doesn’t have insurance.
UIM = Under Insured Motorist Coverage
If you are in a car accident with a driver whose insurance covers up to $50,000 of your damages but you have $75,000 of damages, your UIM coverage will pay the difference up to the maximum allowed by your UIM policy. If your UIM coverage pays for $25,000, it will pay this difference. If your UIM policy only pays up to $20,000, your options are to pay for the remaining $5,000 yourself or to sue the driver who hit you for $5,000.
Arizonians are not required to have UM/UIM coverage on their car insurance policies; however, you should have as much UM/UIM insurance as you can afford. It is unfair that you should have to turn to your own insurance coverage when you weren’t responsible for your injuries, but it’s something you should be prepared to do, particularly with the recent economic downturn. Given the prevalence of uninsured motorists in Arizona, it’s worth the extra couple of dollars a month to protect yourself against a potential financial catastrophe.
If someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Oracle Law Group for assistance with your personal injury claim.
Photo credit: Craig Allen from Flickr