Carrying sufficient Uninsured and Underinsured coverage on your motorcycle and personal vehicles is less obvious, but just as critical, as having health insurance coverage.
After ensuring that your health insurance policy, will cover any medical treatment for injuries suffered in a crash, check your own vehicle policies to be sure you have sufficient liability, uninsured, and underinsured coverages on your bike and personal vehicles.
Liability insurance provides coverage to protect you from personal responsibility should you or someone driving your vehicle cause an accident that injures another person or persons.
Uninsured motorist insurance (UM) covers you and your family for your losses due to the negligent driving of another person who did not have liability insurance on his or her vehicle (he was “uninsured”).
Underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) covers you in claims for when the responsible driver does not have enough insurance to properly compensate you for your losses and injuries. Your claims may include wage loss due to your inability to work, medical bills, pain, suffering, permanent injuries, loss of enjoyment of your prior lifestyle, etc..
Since so many drivers either do not have any liability insurance or don’t have enough coverage to compensate the losses they cause, I recommend that you carry as much uninsured and underinsured coverage as you can afford. Remember that you may lose time from work, or may be physically unable to return to your prior job, following a crash. You may be stuck with medical bills, suffer permanent injuries, and have significant limitations on your physical or mental abilities, all of which you would probably be entitled to monetary compensation for.
If the other driver does not have insurance (is “uninsured”) you can make a claim under your own insurance policy for the value of your losses up to your own UM limits.
If the responsible driver does not have enough coverage to fully compensate you (is “underinsured”), you can only make an UIM claim under your own policy if your underinsured coverage is greater than the responsible driver’s liability insurance limit. For example, if the defendant’s liability coverage limit is $15,000 and your claim is worth $50,000, you can make a claim against your own UIM insurance if you have more than $15,000 UIM on your policy. If you have the same amount of coverage, in this case $15,000, you are not able to bring an UIM claim. You must have more UIM than the defendant’s liability coverage. In this example of a case worth $50,000, if you have UIM limits of $100,000 you could collect the defendant’s $15,000 plus $35,000 from your own UIM policy and therefore collect the full $50,000.
Again, because so many drivers either have no insurance or only a small policy, it is critically important that you purchase sufficient UM and UIM to help ensure that you will be fairly compensated for your losses and injuries. I hope you can see how important it is to have as much uninsured and underinsured coverage on your motorcycle and other vehicles, as they directly benefit you and your family, and provide backup coverage when it’s needed most.
I have represented accident victims and their families since 1983. I’ve seen way too many seriously injured clients suffer physically and financially because the responsible person did not have enough insurance. Please review the limits of your UM and UIM policies on all of your vehicles now. If they are not sufficient call your insurance company or agent and make a change to benefit you and your family. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding UM and UIM, please contact me at Cpyne@stark-stark.com.