The Importance of Carrying UIM Coverage
In California, every driver needs to carry car insurance up to a legal minimum threshold, or else they are breaking the law each time they get behind the wheel. The current minimums (circa 2017) are $15,000 for bodily injuries per person in an auto accident, $30,000 for all bodily injuries in a single accident, and $5,000 for property damage. While these numbers can certainly seem large on paper, they can actually be quite small once all the damages are calculated. For example, the $15,000 cap for the medical costs accrued by one person might not even cover a full day of hospitalization if the patient’s injuries are severe.
When the damages experienced by an injured party in a car accident are larger than the insurance coverage caps of the liable party, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage may be used to make up the difference. UIM coverage is paid out by the injured party’s own insurance carrier and will provide additional damages to help cover the remainder of medical bills after both health insurance and the liable party’s insurance are considered. Certain UIM policies may also provide a portion of lost wages and damages related to pain and suffering.
Reviewing Your Policy to Check for UIM Coverage
California does not make it a legal requirement to purchase UIM coverage. As such, most drivers do not even realize that they do not have UIM coverage as part of their insurance package, as this is rarely included as a standard option. If you want UIM coverage, you may need to talk to an agent from your insurance provider and ask about getting it added onto your policy for an additional monthly premium. UIM coverage is often also bundled with uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which helps cover your damages if you are struck by a driver with absolutely no insurance whatsoever, or who flees the scene before they can be identified.
Despite the additional monthly cost to your insurance, it is greatly recommended that you add UIM/UM coverage onto your policy. With roughly 10% of all drivers not having insurance and an unknown but assumedly much larger percentage of drivers having the bare minimum of coverage, the odds of needing either UIM or UM coverage after an accident are unfortunately high. Paying another couple hundreds of dollars a year in insurance could feasibly save you a few thousand if you get into a crash.
Legal Representation for UIM Accident Cases
Even with UIM coverage added to your policy, the total recovery amount you are offered might be inadequate. In other situations, your own insurance carrier might resist paying out your UIM damages by claiming you are partially or totally liable for the collision. No matter the specifics, if you are not being given a fair amount of coverage and recoveries after being in a car crash, you can come to Caraway Injury Attorneys for steadfast and compassionate legal guidance and advocacy.
Our team of Greater Sacramento car accident attorneys is led by a Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ member and have decades of collective legal experience focused on personal injury claims. If you need help fighting for the compensation that you deserve, do not hesitate contacting us to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We can even come to your home, office, or hospital room for your convenience.