Sometimes good drivers are involved in crashes with drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. One of the most difficult challenges I face in working with families in the aftermath of a tragic loss or serious injury is the lack of insurance coverage that applies to help with those loses.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 North Carolina was the fifth (5th) deadliest state in which to drive, with a 5% increase over the number of fatalities in 2011. Only California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas had more fatalities in 2012 than we did.
And it is no surprise that Charlotte is North Carolina’s most dangerous city for drivers.
When struck by an underinsured or uninsured driver, do you have enough coverage?
In North Carolina we have the option to purchase substantial amounts of uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This is the coverage that applies when we are injured in a crash caused by someone else who has little or no liability coverage.
Good news: it is not expensive.
Coverage for uninsured and underinsured crashes: why you need it
Beyond our health insurance, short and long term disability and life insurance, UM/UIM is the only auto coverage we can buy to protect ourselves and our loved ones against our own losses when someone else is at fault.
Too often I must explain to a client that the person who caused the crash that injured them so badly has only minimum policy limits of $30,000, and the client only has $50,000 or $100,000 in UIM coverage. This often means the maximum the client can recover for all their injuries, lost wages, future medical bills and pain and suffering is the $50,000 or $100,000 limit on their own policy.
And from that amount they must pay their medical bills as required by statute, health insurance liens and attorney fees.
Without adequate UIM coverage, a serious crash becomes a physical, emotional AND financial nightmare.
Uninsured and underinsured coverage is not expensive
More often than not, after the shock of the limitations of coverage wears off, the client is astounded to hear how inexpensive much better UM/UIM coverage costs. A local insurance agency advised that average costs for UM/UIM coverage limits of 100/300 is about $7/month, for 250/500 is about $10/month and for 1M is about $13/month.
All too often clients tell me that they have carried the same auto insurance for years and had no idea they did not have enough coverage. Many do not even know what UM/UIM coverage is for.
How can you tell if you have the right coverage?
Please, take a look at your auto insurance declarations page, which shows what auto coverage you have, and consider increasing your UM/UIM coverage.
If you only have $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage and lose your ability to earn a living in a crash, you will forever rue the day you thought it was a shrewd financial move to save $100 per year instead of buying better coverage.
You do not have to wait until your renewal date to make this important change in your coverage.