Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Are You Fully Protected on the Road?
There are many ways that you could have automobile insurance and still be very vulnerable out on the road. What happens when you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident but the other driver doesn’t have insurance, drives off, or doesn’t have enough liability coverage to cover your injuries? These are question you want to ask prior to needing it. The answer to all of the above is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage covers you when the party that hit you can’t.
What is the difference between the two types of coverage (uninsured/underinsured)?
Uninsured motorist coverage will help cover you if you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident with an individual who does not have liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage will help you cover the remaining costs when you have exceeded the amount of the other driver’s liability coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Following an accident, it is customary to swap insurance information and soon file a claim with your insurance company who will deal with the details from there. You plan to get your car fixed, your medical bills paid, and recoup any wages lost during your recovery time from work. But what happens when the other party has insurance but it’s far too little? What will that mean for you?
Under the Virginia negligence law, this would mean that the other party is an “underinsured motorist.” If you aren’t protected against underinsured motorists, you could be finding yourself paying out-of-pocket for your vehicle damages and medical bills!
Let’s say your auto insurance has you covered for $150,000 per accident for your bodily injury liability coverage. Let’s then say that the other driver has bodily injury liability coverage of only $25,000 which is he minimum amount required in Virginia. Then let’s say that you have incurred $50,000 in medical bills and taken 5 weeks off from work and your attorney says you are looking at getting $100,000 in a settlement. What happens next (if you are covered for underinsured motorist coverage) is a beautiful thing. The other party’s insurance will, in most cases, offer their full $25,000 and then you are able to pursue your own insurance company for the remainder of $75,000 under your “underinsured motorist coverage.”
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Similar to the above underinsured motorist coverage, uninsured motorist coverage covers you if the other driver has no insurance coverage at all, or if you can’t obtain the name of the other driver – the exact scenario that occurs in a hit-and-run accident.
Check with your insurance company for all the details of what they offer and pay attention to the details. Just because you are considered “fully covered” by your carrier may not mean that you are actually fully covered in an accident. You may only have the minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage yet still be considered to be “fully covered.” This is the situation you want to avoid.