Unlocking the Mystery of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Two Drivers Arguing After Traffic AccidentPost written by Marcy Parks, Stockman Insurance Officer Manager

What do Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury mean on my Personal Auto Policy?

And if my agent says they aren’t mandatory coverages and I can save money by “rejecting” them, why would I want to pay for them?

Are they necessary?

The purpose of Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIM) are to allow insureds to collect from their own insurance company, that which they should have been able to collect from the negligent uninsured or underinsured third party.

In other words, if someone hits your car and causes bodily injury to you or others who are in your car, and the person who hit you either has no insurance or less than enough to pay for your medical bills, your policy should kick in.

In addition, UM/UIM also covers you while on a bicycle or as a pedestrian.

Why would I want this coverage if I already have health insurance?

UM/UIM covers more than just medical bills. It should also cover compensatory damages such as pain, suffering, loss of relationship for a spouse or child, and lost wages while injured or due to death.

Coverages and Exclusions vary by policy, so please be sure to read your policy or talk to your agent. Aside from not covering lost wages, health insurance usually has a deductible and a co-pay, and some health insurance policies exclude auto accidents as covered losses.

Stressed Driver Sitting At Roadside After Traffic AccidentUninsured Motorist Bodily Injury liability (UM) coverage kicks in if the person driving the vehicle that caused the bodily injury isn’t insured, or their limits are less than the state required minimum limits where your covered auto is garaged.

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury liability (UIM) language in the policy differs by company. It’s important to read your policy or visit with your agent to find out what triggers this coverage in your policy.

Some policies state that UIM kicks in only if the injuries are caused by a motorist whose bodily injury liability limits are less than the injured person’s auto policy UM/UIM.

So if someone carries UIM limits of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and the driver who caused the accident has the same limits or higher for his Bodily Injury Liability, there is no coverage.

Some policies state that UIM kicks in if the negligent driver’s Bodily Injury Liability limits are not enough to cover the damages caused by the accident.

The bottom line is, UM/UIM are very important coverages and quite reasonably priced. Stockman Insurance agents can answer any questions you might have regarding this, and make it a priority to be sure you understand your policy and have the right protection you need.  Contact an agent today for more information.

To reach a Stockman Insurance agent near you, call our toll-free number 1-866-441-8485. We have offices in Miles City, Conrad, Glendive, Richey, Worden, Great Falls, Billings, Helena, Stanford, and Missoula.

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