Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Why You Need It.
Choosing insurance coverage is probably one of the most undesirable tasks out there. Paying every month for the “just in case” isn’t where we really want to spend our money; and oftentimes we choose the least amount of coverage without understanding what it all means. Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage are two of the types that get left off most often.
On a beautiful November evening while on their way home from watching their granddaughter perform in the Nutcracker, this wonderful elderly couple was violently struck head on by a vehicle. The at-fault driver abruptly swerved onto the wrong side of the road at 101 MPH. The grandmother remained hospitalized for nearly a month due to her severe injuries. Upon her discharge she required a great deal of assistance, including a wheelchair, a specialized bed that elevated her head to avoid paralysis and 24 hour nursing care. Unfortunately, due to changes in flooring elevation in their home and because the wheelchair did not fit in their bathroom, they had to find a new place to live during her convalescence. The grandmother’s medical bills were already substantial and continued to increase every day. Needless to say, their lives were turned upside down with only a moment’s notice. The at-fault driver carried very little liability insurance to pay for the substantial monetary damages he caused. Enter the most important insurance you can purchase: Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). Thankfully, these clients had purchased a significant amount of UM.
What is UM and UIM coverage?
UM provides coverage for injuries and deaths caused by other drivers. This coverage will pay for medical bills and other expenses for you and any passengers if you are in an accident caused by a driver who(se):
- doesn’t carry any insurance
- doesn’t carry enough insurance
- insurance company denies coverage to their customer or goes out of business
The clients were referred to partner Tony Sos by a local lawyer who had a longtime connection with the couple. He wanted to make sure they were zealously represented. The UM carrier fought hard to oppose the claim, requiring a formal lawsuit. The investigative work that Tony and Bill Tonelli did on the front end of the case (which included securing several witness statements, pulling data from the at-fault party’s vehicle and extensively documenting the client’s injuries and recovery process) was instrumental in obtaining a substantial recovery. The client’s recovery provided them with the financial security that they needed following this uncertain and devastating situation. But make no mistake, it all started with the couple purchasing a significant amount of UM coverage to protect them from the negligence of others.
“According to a 2021 report for the Insurance Research Council, 1 in 8 drivers don’t carry car insurance and many others are woefully underinsured. That is a scary statistic!”
Check Your Coverage
Without good uninsured motorist insurance, this horrific accident would have been financially devastating for these clients. UM coverage protected their savings by giving them the right to be compensated, regardless of the fact that an uninsured driver caused the accident. UM is the only coverage you can purchase that effectively protects you and your family from the negligence of others. As a helpful tip, please remember as the roads are opening back up it is imperative you work with your insurance agent to ensure you are purchasing as much uninsured motorist coverage as possible.