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Note: This content was updated on December 22, 2020.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is one of the most important types of automobile coverage you can purchase for yourself. It protects YOU and YOUR FAMILY in the event the person who causes an accident either has no insurance or low limits of insurance.
According to the Dayton Daily News, nearly 1 million drivers in Ohio don’t have any auto insurance. Previously, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles was allowed to perform random insurance checks on people. But in 2019, a new law takes away the BMV’s power to perform those checks. If you are hit by a driver without insurance, your options for compensation will be limited or nonexistent if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage through your own provider.
BMV data indicates that in 2018, 1.3 million Ohioans were given non-compliance suspensions due to being unable to show proof of insurance at traffic stops or after crashes. Those suspensions could be lifted if they could show valid proof of coverage at the time their crashes occurred.
The average car accident settlement in the U.S. in 2017 was $21,000. That helps cover expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs. But when at-fault drivers don’t have any insurance, victims often have to take on those costs on their own.
And while it’s possible to pursue damages from the at-fault driver directly, getting paid can be an uphill battle. Many uninsured at-fault drivers simply don’t have the money to pay, and they may refuse to cooperate, even if they’re court ordered to pay you compensation for your damages. Having UIM can give you peace of mind knowing that no matter what the other driver’s situation is, you’re still able to receive the money your family needs.
For example, imagine you are hit by a driver who runs a red light. You suffer a broken leg and are unable to work for six weeks. The driver who caused the accident has no insurance. How are you to be compensated for your injury and lost wages? If you purchased UIM, you can be compensated to the limits of your coverage.
If you purchased $25,000/50,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can be compensated up to $25,000 for your injuries. If you bought no UIM, you have no means of recovery for your injury and lost wages.
Alternatively, you are struck by a driver with $12,500 in coverage. You have the same coverage limits, including UIM. If you have limits equal to the driver who caused you injury, you are limited to the driver’s $12,500 in coverage. If you purchased $100,000/300,000 in coverage, including UIM, you can be compensated by the driver’s insurance company and your own up to $100,000 total.
It is critical when you purchase insurance on your vehicle that you purchase as much coverage as you can afford, especially UIM coverage. Insurance companies are no longer required to offer you UIM coverage but if you request it, it will be sold to you.
It’s common for injured drivers to deal with uncooperative insurance companies when they’re filing claims against the drivers who hit them. After all, those insurers are trying to deflect blame from their clients. But many injured drivers are caught by surprise when their own insurers also deny their claims.
Remember that insurance companies are in business to make money, not pay fair settlements. There’s no difference to them whether you’re an injured third-party seeking compensation from their client, or you’re a policyholder who needs a big check to pay for medical bills and lost wages. Either way, they’re probably going to give you the runaround and hope you’ll give up trying. Having a lawyer on your side from day one can make the process much easier and more likely to be successful.
Too many times, we see clients with disabling injuries who did not purchase UIM coverage and have no means of recovery. You can protect yourself and your family by purchasing UIM coverage. Although insurance companies are notoriously uncooperative, it’s better to have coverage and have to fight to get it, than to not have any coverage or any recourse at all.
If you have any questions about your coverage, please call the Ohio auto accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy today for a free consultation. We’ll review your policy and work hard to get you the money you’re owed.
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