You're driving your son to soccer practice when you are rear-ended at a stop sign. Dealing with the initial trauma of the accident and injuries and the subsequent disruption of a period of medical recovery and the inconvenience of car repairs is bad enough. What if the injuries are serious? And what if the at-fault driver has no insurance? Where do you turn?
This is where your Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage comes into play.
What is UM Coverage? The Ohio Insurance Institute defines it as coverage that "pays the policyholder and passengers in his/her car for losses sustained by reason of bodily injury ... caused by the owner or operator of an uninsured automobile or a hit and run driver."
What is the difference between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage?Underinsured Motorists Coverage covers you and passengers in your car for "losses unpaid because sufficient bodily injury liability limits are not available from the policy of an at-fault driver." In other words, Uninsured Motorists covers you if the wrongdoer has no insurance whileUnderinsured Motorists covers you in the event that the wrongdoer has some coverage but not enough.
Many people wonder if UM is really necessary. After all, isn't liability insurance mandatory? How can there be any uninsured drivers out there? The problem is not everyone obeys the law. The Office of Public Safety for the State of Ohio recently quoted to us in a telephone interview that 7% of the drivers convicted of moving violations in a recent six-month period were found to have no insurance. There are upwards of 11 million automobiles registered in the State of Ohio. If even 5% of them are uninsured, that's a frighteningly high number!
Others question the necessity of UM in light of the fact they have very comprehensive medical coverage. In the event of an accident with an uninsured driver, they assume their own medical coverage will fully protect them. Yes, medical insurance would likely cover most medical expenses. But it will not generally compensate the injured person for lost wages, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and changes in quality of life. For a person permanently disabled following an accident, even things such as modifications to make a home and a vehicle more accessible can cost tens of thousands of dollars. UM can compensate the victim in these broader areas.
There are ways insurance dollars can be saved, but paring down or going without UM is one we strongly discourage. The largest claim in our agency history is not a huge fire loss or a big liability settlement. It is, you guessed it, a UM claim.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
It is estimated that one out of every 20 motorists is driving uninsured. Although this figure represents only 5% of today's drivers, uninsured motorists are responsible for approximately 13% of all auto accidents. If you become involved in an accident with an at-fault driver of an uninsured motor vehicle there are coverage options available to ensure that you are adequately protected:
• UMBI- Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury Coverage provides bodily injury coverage for you and for the occupants of your vehicle. Most policies already provide this coverage.
• UMPD- Uninsured Motorists Property Damage provides coverage for your vehicle. Vehicles without collision coverage have no protection for damage resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver. If the optional UMPD coverage is added to your policy and you find yourself tangled in an accident with the at-fault driver having no insurance, you won't be left to pay for the damage to your car out of your own pocket.
Please contact us if you want to check into how your particular company's UMPD coverages are structured and priced.