WHY YOU NEED IT
If you’re in an accident and the other driver is uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance, will you be covered? If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM), the answer is probably “yes.” Many auto insurance industry experts recommend choosing this option. You might think that because your state requires auto insurance, most people have it. However, Alabama has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the entire country.
According to the Insurance Research Council, the estimated number of uninsured drivers in Alabama was 18.4% in 2017. Wow!
WHAT IS UM OR UIM?
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can pay for injuries to you and your passengers when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered “uninsured” or “underinsured.” An uninsured driver is someone who did not have any insurance, had insurance that did not meet Alabama’s minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim. A hit-and-run driver is also considered an uninsured driver under Alabama law. An underinsured driver is someone who met minimum legal financial responsibility requirements but did not have payment limits high enough to cover the damage they caused. In these cases, UM or UIM can pay you for your damages.
IS UM/UIM REQUIRED?
Alabama does not require UM/UIM coverage. If you purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, your UM/UIM payment limits usually must comply with Alabama’s minimum liability coverage of $25,000/$50,000 but can’t exceed your liability limits. UM/UIM coverage cannot be bought without liability insurance being purchased. Also, note that if you’re in an accident and try to settle payment with the other driver by yourself, you won’t be able to file a claim for UM/UIM protection. It’s always best, regardless of what’s in your policy, to contact a lawyer for advice on how to handle an accident.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT IT?
The Insurance Information Institute’s Vice President, Carolyn Gorman, praises the virtues of UM/UIM.
“You absolutely need this coverage, because, if you get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance or doesn’t have enough of it, you want to be made financially whole again. You have to protect yourself fiscally and physically, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection can help you in that regard.”
It’s usually relatively cheap to add uninsured/underinsured motorist protection to your car insurance policy, especially considering the amount of protection it offers. UM/UIM coverage protects you and your passengers. When you compare car insurance quotes, you should be sure to take uninsured/underinsured coverage into account. It could pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If someone hits you or your car and is legally responsible for the damages, you won’t get any money from them if they don’t have money to give you. Especially during times when people are struggling economically, many drivers either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough. If you have UM/UIM, you can receive compensation even if the other driver can’t pay.