Anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of drivers today are uninsured—and that doesn’t count those who are underinsured. In Wisconsin, it’s believed that about 14.3 percent of motorists are uninsured, which means there’s about a 15 percent chance that if you’re the victim of an accident, it will be with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover it. Drivers need to carry UI, UIM, and UMPBD coverage if they want to protect themselves; it isn’t enough to just carry your own coverage.
What is UM and UIM?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) provides coverage if you or your passengers are injured by an individual who wasn’t insured at the time of the accident. Similarly, Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) coverage kicks in when an individual was insured, but their insurance won’t cover the full amount of damages. Since UI, UIM, and UMPD (Uninsured Motorist Property Damage) isn’t required, not every driver has it. But there are some important reasons that you should consider adding these types of coverage.
Economic Uncertainty Means Fewer Covered Drivers
With unemployment reaching record levels, many drivers may be driving without insurance at all. Many insurance companies have offered payment plans or deferred billing, but payment eventually becomes due. Drivers who can’t pay for their current insurance plans are going to need to reduce their coverage or drop their insurance entirely. At best, they may increase their deductibles instead.
The coming years are likely to see an increase in uninsured and under-insured drivers, which greatly increases the risk to all drivers on the road, including those who are properly insured. Not having jobs doesn’t mean that people aren’t driving, and even those who are driving responsibly may still reduce their insurance to very low limits as a way of reducing their payments.
The Consequences of Not Having UM/UIM Insurance
Liability insurance (such as Bodily Injury ad Property Damage) will pay for damages that you cause to others. But what happens if someone causes damage to you? If the individual doesn’t have insurance, and you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, then you will need to pursue these damages in court.
Here’s an example. If you’re out for a drive and an uninsured motorist hits you, your damages could be up to $500,000: lost wages, vehicle damages, and medical bills. But if the driver has no coverage, and you don’t have UM/UIM, you will need to sue the driver for the rest of the money. On the other hand, if you have UM/UIM coverage, your own coverage will pay for the damages that you incurred. You won’t need a protracted legal battle.
As with other types of coverage, UM/UIM is often expressed in split limits. This includes the amount of coverage per person and the amount of coverage per accident. As an example, you might have 25/50 coverage, which is $25,000 per person, and $50,000 per accident. You can tailor your coverage to your budget, your risk, and your needs by adjusting the amount of coverage you have, but you should always maintain enough coverage to be safe. UM/UIM can also be expressed in terms of combined single limits.
Getting UM, UIM, or UMPD Coverage
How do you add uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage? The best way is to connect with an independent insurance agent. An independent insurance agent will be able to give you advice regarding the amount of coverage you need, and where the most affordable options are.