What is UM/UIM coverage, and why is it important?

UM/UIM coverage can help protect you if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance.

Everyone wants to save money on car insurance. Maybe you’ve done the research, and now you have the exact types of coverage you need for the lowest price you can get. However, some people settle for the bare minimum of car insurance coverage to save money, or they just don’t get insurance (despite that being extremely illegal).

What do you do if you’re in an accident with someone who cut corners in their coverage? Carriers have actually come up with a great solution: Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist insurance. Here, we’ll tell you what it is, what it does, and why you should consider adding it to your policy.

What is Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

When you’re in an accident, whoever is at fault has a legal duty to the other driver to help cover any repair fees, medical bills, lost wages, etc. resulting from the accident. If the driver’s car insurance policy doesn’t have a high enough coverage limit to do that, then how do you get the extra money to handle the damage?

In comes Underinsured (UIM)/Uninsured (UM) coverage. This part of your policy can help pick up the slack from what the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover.

What’s the difference between an UNinsured and an UNDERinsured motorist?

An UNinsured motorist Is someone who just doesn’t have car insurance, whether they’ve had it lapse, they haven’t paid for a plan, or they just didn’t apply for a policy in the first place.

“Wait, isn’t it illegal to drive without car insurance?” Yes. Very. However, the Insurance Research Council reports that about 1 in 7 drivers still don’t have car insurance. So, while they’ll have their own set of problems to deal with (including fines and possible jail time), it’s important that you have UM/UIM coverage so that you can minimize your own issues after an accident.

UM/UIM coverage can protect you if you're hit by a driver without enough insurance.

An UNDERinsured motorist is someone who just doesn’t have enough car insurance to pay for the damages of an accident. An underinsured driver may just have the legal minimum of liability coverage for their car insurance. While that may legally give them insurance coverage, the liability limits of minimum requirement car insurance are rarely enough to help cover your medical bills or damage to your actual car.

Will my insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Say someone hits your bumper in a parking lot or scrapes the side of your car when they’re pulling out of a parking space, or just slams into the side of your car and takes off. In cases like these, you have no way of contacting the driver, nor getting ahold of their insurance (unless you’re a mind reader). So, in insurance terms, you were hit by an uninsured motorist and could get help from your UM/UIM coverage.

Am I required to have UM/UIM coverage in Georgia?

You’re not technically required to have UM/UIM insurance in GA but consider this: The minimum requirement for insurance in GA is only 25/50/25. This means that the minimum amount of coverage required is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage.

So, if the person who hits you only has that $25,000 to cover bodily injury liability, some of that money can be taken out for their court fees if you decide to sue them. So, you’ll only be compensated for less than $25,000 to help pay for your hospital bills, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and other medical expenses resulting from the accident.

With UM/UIM coverage, your insurance can help fill in that gap between the other driver’s coverage limit and the actual cost of your medical expenses. So, the peace of mind can be worth the extra policy or endorsement to your personal umbrella insurance policy.

Keep in mind that UM/UIM insurance also has a minimum coverage limit that may still be less than the bodily injury and property damage bills you incur. So, the best course of action for determining the UM/UIM coverage you need is to get a policy that offers the same amount of coverage as your normal car insurance policy.

So, why should you get UM/UIM coverage? The simple answer is peace of mind. When you first started driving, you may have heard the adage that you have to drive for you and everyone else on the road. So, that can also include parts of your insurance coverage.

If you’re worried about the cost of adding this policy to your car insurance, don’t be! Our insurance experts are the best at asking the right questions to help you save money on the auto insurance you need. So, call us today or fill out our online form to start your free, easy quotes.