What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?

| Jul 13, 2015 | Auto Accidents

underinsured motorist making call after accidentUnderinsured motorist coverage is sometimes referred to as UIM. When another driver causes an accident where you are injured, their liability insurance must pay for your damages. Sometimes the damages suffered are more than the amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver carries. In these circumstances, your UIM would then step in to pay the remaining damages. In South Carolina, a driver is only required to carry $25,000 in liability coverage. With the cost of medical treatment these days, this minimum amount can quickly be exceeded by an injured party.

UIM compensates you, or other persons insured under your automobile insurance policy, for amounts which you legally may be entitled to collect as damages from an owner or operator of an at-fault underinsured motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not always simple to collect UIM benefits. In order to qualify for your UIM insurance payment, you must exhaust the other driver’s liability limits, and then you must notify your insurance company of the other insurance company’s settlement offer.

Do I automatically have UIM Coverage?

No. Your insurance company must offer you underinsured motorist coverage for an additional fee. Under South Carolina law, you have the right to be offered underinsured motorist coverage in limits up to the limits of liability coverage which you will carry under your automobile insurance policy. Not everyone elects to pay the extra money to obtain underinsured motorist coverage. This is unfortunate because EVERYONE should carry underinsured motorist coverage. This insurance is there to compensate you and is usually only a few dollars a month.

Example

If you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault, let say you have a $5000 emergency room bill. You have injured your knee and need knee surgery. The surgery is $20,000 plus physical therapy after the surgery and prescriptions, your medical bills alone could easily exceed $40,000. This does not count your lost time from work, mileage or pain and suffering. If the car that caused the accident was only insured for $25,000, you will be paying for all those other bills and damages above $25,000 yourself. If you have underinsured motorist coverage it will kick in to help pay those damages over the original $25,000 so that you are not out of pocket for an accident that was not your fault.

If you have questions about underinsured motorist coverage or any other questions about how insurance affects your recovery after a car accident, please contact Venus Poe today at 864-963-0310 or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. Knowing all the insurance is available to you is imperative to make sure you are fully compensated after an accident. There is no obligation or charge for our initial consultation to see if we can help you with your accident case.