Insuring your car may feel expensive. As a car owner, you must buy liability coverage (if you strike another’s car). You can also select coverages to pay for repairs to your car, to cover towing charges, for medical expenses, and even the costs of a temporary rental car. A handy buying guide, “Insurance 101,” is available from the Ohio Department of Insurance. Ohio law requires that each driver carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person; $50,000 per accident (25/50). But with all the choices and charges, you may be confused about whether to purchase uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverages too.
From our perspective, the answer is a strong “YES”. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you and others in your car when another driver injures you but their insurance is insufficient to compensate you for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
But how can this be if all Ohio drivers are to carry insurance? UM/UIM coverage may apply when that other driver carries the state minimums but you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries. Another situation happens when a hit-skip accident takes place and no one can identify the driver responsible for the crash. Uninsured coverage would also apply if it is discovered that the other driver’s insurance had lapsed or was inapplicable to your accident. The attorneys at Rubin Guttman & Associates urge you to not rely on the other driver to fully protect you and your loved ones.
When you shop for automobile coverage, you must request UM/UIM coverage; your insurance agent is not required to automatically include it in your policy. The coverage will likely be sold in amounts that match the level of liability coverage you select. So, if you choose the state minimum for liability insurance, you would not be eligible to buy higher amounts in UM/UIM coverage.
Sit down with your automobile insurance agent, review exactly what is covered in your current policy, and we urge you to select the highest coverage package you can afford, including UM/UIM coverage. Never be shy about asking questions, and that includes calling us at (888) GUTTLAW either before or after an unfortunate accident.
Insurance is protection we all hope we never need, whether it’s for health issues, homeowner’s coverage, or car insurance. But if you’re injured in an accident, you may have one fewer headache by better protecting yourself with UM/UIM coverage.