What You Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

Buying auto insurance is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a collision, but it’s something that many people don’t spend enough time researching beyond just shopping for low rates.

The problem is that low rates don’t always mean ensuring you have enough coverage to protect yourself in the event of a crash in which you sustain serious injuries caused by another driver.

In Pennsylvania, a basic coverage vehicle insurance policy — which is the minimum a driver needs in Pennsylvania to legally operate a motor vehicle — requires a driver to carry $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $30,000 of coverage per incident. That coverage, which can be bought at rates depending on a person’s driving record, pays for injuries that are caused by the policyholder to another driver and their passengers. Drivers often choose the minimum coverages to save on their own insurance costs.

But those low minimum coverages have been in place for more than 30 years and have not been increased all this time, meaning there are lots of drivers out there on the roads zipping around with very low insurance payment thresholds that put others in danger.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to be certain that your insurance policies include Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverages so that if you are struck and injured by a vehicle being operated by a driver who only carries state minimum coverage of $15,000/$30,000 you will have adequate coverage for your own injuries and medical expenses.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverages are NOT part of the minimum insurance requirements in Pennsylvania and are not mandated for purchase, as crazy as that sounds. So, to be sure you get them, you must ask your insurance agent to provide the coverage.

fatal crash

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/tillsonburg

My recommendation is to have as much of these coverages as you can afford, with at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident coverage, to best protect you and your family.

Without UM and UIM coverage, your injuries caused by another driver will only be paid up to the limits of their bodily injury liability coverage, even if that is only $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident. That is simply not enough to cover your serious injuries in the event of a crash caused by someone else, and that’s all their insurance company would have to pay.

The law states that damages beyond those limits are then the responsibility of the other driver, but if someone can’t afford better coverage limits, do you think they will have the money to pay you for additional damages if you sue them? The chances are slim to none.

So, buy as much UI and UIM coverage you can afford because that’s the insurance you are most likely to use if you are injured in a crash caused by another motorist.

Of course, there are other important insurance coverages as well. I recently wrote a blog post about what drivers need to know about full tort versus limited tort insurance coverage and will soon be writing a post about insurance coverage stacking, which is an inexpensive and smart way to increase your overall coverage for pennies per month. Stacking adds up the coverages for each of your vehicles and makes them available as a larger pot in the event of serious injuries from a crash. I also recently wrote a blog post about the effects of the statute of limitations on vehicle crashes, which drivers should keep in mind.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of vehicle incident anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

 

Listen to Court Radio every Sunday at 7 a.m. with me, attorney Dean Weitzman of MyPhillyLawyer, on Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3 WRNB, Boom 103.9 or on Praise 107.9 WPPZ FM. Listen to Court Radio online or on the radio every week for the latest on legal topics and to get answers to your legal questions. In addition to addressing the topical issues of the day, we’ll answer caller questions on a wide range of legal issues.