It happens every six months to a year: you get a bill from the auto insurance company with lots of itemized fees and costs. If you are like many Michigan residents, you may be trying to find a way to get those costs down. The uninsured motorist coverage may be a tempting way to trim expenses, but is it worth the money?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (which sometimes also includes underinsured motorist coverage) is an optional addition to your standard auto insurance. When you get into a serious injury accident with a motorist who, for whatever reason, does not have insurance, it can fill the gap and pay for Third Party damages not covered by your no-fault insurance. This could include non-economic damages like pain and suffering, disability, or loss of support, as well as lost wages, attendant care costs and replacement services beyond the 3 years allowed under the Michigan No-Fault Act.
Every Michigan motorist is required to maintain no-fault auto insurance on their vehicles, which includes a certain amount of liability insurance. Unlike personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, uninsured motorist coverage is entirely voluntary, so why would you need to pay extra for UIM benefits?
First, remember that when you are in an auto accident, you turn first to your own no-fault insurance. But when a car crash results in death, disability, or a substantial impairment of bodily function, you are allowed to sue the at-fault driver to recover those additional Third Party damages. Practically speaking, injured motorists are relying on the driver's liability insurance to pay the judgment.
The truth is that many drivers on Michigan roads don't have liability insurance. It may be because:
When one of these people causes a serious injury accident, your uninsured motorist coverage acts in place of the at-fault driver's insurance policy. It makes sure you get paid for all of your Third Party auto accident damages.
Most Michigan auto insurance providers offer a combination of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. While uninsured coverage applies when there is no insurance on the other side, underinsured motorist coverage applies when your damages go beyond the at-fault driver's insurance coverage.
Michigan's only requires drivers' liability coverage to pay for $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident in Third Party damages. When a car crash results in permanent disability or affects a number of passengers, those limits often won't cover everyone's damages. In those cases, underinsured motorist insurance can fill the gap and make sure there is enough money to cover you and your loved ones after an accident.
Paying extra for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage gives you the peace of mind to know that no matter who hits you, the money will be there to cover your injuries. But how much is enough?
There is no one right answer for the right amount of UIM coverage. You need to find the right balance for you and your family between monthly premiums and benefit caps. The more you pay now, the more benefits you will be entitled to in the event of an accident. Be certain to consider how much you can afford to pay out of pocket if your expenses go beyond your UIM benefits. At a minimum, you should have enough uninsured motorist coverage to pay for the state-mandated minimums. However, most families would be better served by higher benefit payouts of $100,000 or more per accident.
At Sachs Waldman, we have extensive experience helping the victims of serious injury car accidents recover UIM benefits from auto insurance providers in third-party negligence lawsuits against uninsured drivers. We can help you get your damages covered. Contact our Detroit personal injury law office at 1-800-638-6722.