Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Monopoly car Many people don’t know exactly what kind of automobile insurance coverage they have. Some may have trusted their insurance agents to sell them what they need; others may have opted to let the premium price dictate their insurance limits; others may have purchased their insurance fifteen years ago and never again revisited the issue of coverage. One of the most important types of automobile coverage is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance that you have just in case you are involved in a collision with someone who does not have insurance. That person may have fled the scene after a collision (hit-and-run), may have let his automobile insurance policy lapse, or just may be taking risks by knowingly driving uninsured. In that situation, your insurance company will step in to provide coverage in the amount of your policy’s Uninsured motorist coverage.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

Underinsured motorist coverage is insurance that you have just in case you are involved in a collision with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay your expenses. For example, the at-fault driver who hit you may have been operating with insurance coverage of only the bare-bones state minimums ($30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident, as of 2011). If you were the only person injured in the accident and your medical bills were $100,000, the other person’s insurance would only pay $30,000. In that situation, your insurance company will step in to provide coverage in the amount of your Underinsured motorist coverage, minus any amounts paid by the other person’s insurance.

Who Does UM/UIM Coverage Help?

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage helps you if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, and (1) if you have UM/UIM coverage through your insurance company; or (2) typically if you live with a family member who has UM/UIM coverage; or (3) typically extends to other people in the car who are injured.

So, My Insurance Company Is My Friend?

Yes and no. It is always good to have high insurance limits of Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage, because it can help to protect you when the unthinkable happens. That coverage is there for your benefit when you need it. However, your insurance company essentially steps in the shoes of the negligent person who hit you. Your insurance company might claim that your damages were not as severe as you and your doctors believe, and may agree to pay what you think your claim is worth. In that situation, they are against you.

Statute of Limitations (Deadline To File A Lawsuit)

A complaint for Underinsured/Uninsured motorist benefits must be filed in a Maryland court within three years of the date the insured knew or should have known that he had a possible claim against the insurance company. These cases are not negligent actions, but breach of contact actions based on failure of the insurance company to pay an appropriate amount under the UM/UIM policy. These deadlines can be difficult to calculate, so if you have any questions, please contact a Maryland personal injury attorney so that you do not forfeit your rights.