The Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

With close to 300 million registered automobiles in the United States, automobile accidents are an unfortunate reality of life. Statistics indicate that more than 3 million people are injured annually in automobile accidents, with more than 2 million of these injuries being permanent. While traffic fatalities have decreased in recent years, statistics from the U.S Census Bureau reflect average traffic related fatalities in excess of 40,000 per year. Unfortunately, the tragedy of these injuries or fatalities is often exacerbated when the at-fault driver has no insurance or insufficient coverage.

While the Insurance Information Institute recommends that motorist carry at least $100,000 of bodily injury insurance coverage per person and $300,000 per accident, Alabama only requires coverage of $25,000 of injury coverage and $50,000 for all injuries per accident. Furthermore, 2011 estimates by the Insurance Research Council indicate that between 16 and 30 percent of Alabama drivers are uninsured.

Far too often we see cases where victims sustain severe injuries and incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage with which to make them whole. If the person who caused your injuries can’t afford insurance, there is little chance that he/she will have any personal assets against which to collect. How can you protect yourself from becoming one of these unfortunate cases? Make sure you are adequately insured against the uninsured/underinsured motorist.

The purpose of UM/UIM insurance is to provide coverage in cases where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage or has insufficient coverage. In Alabama, insurers are required by law to provide a minimum of $25,000 UM/UIM coverage with your auto policy unless you specifically waive coverage. Your UM/UIM coverage constitutes such a small portion of your premium, you should NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER waive your UM/UIM coverage in order to save a few dollars each year. In fact, we strongly encourage our clients to meet with their insurance agents to discuss INCREASING their UM/UIM coverage. Our recommendation is a minimum $100,000 per vehicle. You might be surprised how little it costs to substantially increase your level of protection against the uninsured/underinsured motorist.