What is underinsured motorist coverage?  Do I need it?

    You may be asking “what is underinsured motorist coverage?  Do I need it?”  The answer is YES! Here’s why.

    Your own auto insurance company can provide you with significant compensation for injuries sustained in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. In some situations, your own car insurance can provide collision coverage to you even if you are not in your own car when the wreck occurs.

    What you may not realize is that the insurance policies of other drivers on Illinois roads are relevant to you and your own insurance policy. If you get in a car accident with an underinsured or driver, what do you do? Who covers the damages and medical bills? We’re highlighting what you need to know about UIM coverage.

    What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

    Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), is the key to protecting yourself in the event that you are injured in a car accident. As the name implies, this type of liability coverage kicks in when the value of your case exceeds the at-fault driver’s policy limits. However, you should know that UIM is different than UM, or uninsured motorist coverage, which applies to drivers who don’t have auto insurance.

    Despite the law requiring all drivers to have auto insurance, some people still get behind the wheel uninsured. In fact, a study showed that one in eight U.S. drivers were on the road uninsured in 2015. Those odds can potentially cause detrimental damage to someone injured by an uninsured driver. Illinois law requires drivers to purchase UM coverage, but it does not require UIM coverage. It’s important to understand what your options are, so we’re shedding some light on how UIM works.

    How UIM Protects You

    Imagine that you fracture your leg in a bad car wreck. Your hospital bills may well be in excess of $100,000 and you may even miss months of work. The driver who rear-ended you is underinsured and only has $25,000 of coverage.

    Obviously, that’s not enough to cover your damages because you still have $75,000 left of hospital bills. This is where UIM comes in. If your UIM limit exceeds $25,000, you can rest easier knowing that you have coverage.

    In this scenario, your UIM coverage will provide compensation to you under your auto insurance. This is why protecting yourself with adequate UIM limits is a critical precaution to take. In some circumstances, you can imagine that even having $100,000 of coverage may not be enough. If you find yourself in an accident with an underinsured driver, or in a hit-and-run situation, you’ll be grateful you invested in liability insurance. The difference in the cost of acquiring that $100,000 versus $25,000 policy limit pales in comparison to what your loss could be if you are buried in medical expenses that you can’t afford.

    In some situations, if you have underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, you will be covered even if you’re not in a car, or your own car, at the time of the accident. As long as a resident of your household owns a covered car, and the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limit is insufficient, you’re covered. Other types of UIM coverage include underinsured motorist property damage, which covers damage to your vehicle. Each of these insurance coverages are also available for their uninsured driver equivalents.

    Don’t Hesitate to Get UIM Coverage

    So protect yourself! Make sure you have adequate UIM coverage in your auto insurance policy so you do not have to rely on the other driver’s insurance to make sure you are fairly compensated. Especially in Illinois, where drivers are only required to purchase $25,000 of liability coverage, it’s important to be informed about your options. You’ll rest easier knowing you have enough insurance coverage.

    After a car accident, there are several things you should do to preserve your legal claims. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our firm today to schedule a free confidential consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. You pay nothing until we successfully resolve your legal claims and secure the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.


    When to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

    Regardless of the the driver being insured or you carrying UIM coverage, if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Palermo Law Group at (630) 684-2332 for a free consultation with nationally recognized personal injury lawyer, Mario Palermo, regarding the best approach to obtaining compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries.

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