Just about everyone besides insurance companies thinks that auto insurance is too expensive. This is especially true when the policy covers a young driver or someone who has points on their driving record. It makes sense that drivers who pose a greater risk would pay more, but the high cost of insurance prompts some drivers not to renew their policy or to carry insufficient coverage. According to the Insurance Research Council, this added in 2019 to up to one in eight drivers in being underinsured or uninsured.
This lack of coverage is against the law, and it prompts insurance companies to pass along an extra $13 billion or about $78 per vehicle in costs to drivers with insurance for injuries and property damage caused by underinsured and uninsured drivers. The one bright spot in this news is that New Jersey leads the nation with the fewest drivers without proper insurance with 3.1%. The national average is 12.6%, with Mississippi ranking highest with an astonishing 29.4%.
What does this mean to victims?
Being injured due because of someone else’s actions is hard enough, but it gets worse when the victim realizes the other driver does not have proper insurance. One option is for victims to file an uninsured motorist insurance (UM) claim or an underinsured motorist claim (UIM) with their carrier. These claims are capped at the policy limit of the victim and any insurance policy available to them that carries UM or UIM benefits. UM and UIM policy limits typically mirror the policy limits a driver selects to cover them if they are at fault for an accident, but sometimes UM and UIM limits can be less, if the policy owner elects not to purchase the full amount available to them.
It is important to know what kind of UM and UIM coverage you’ve selected before you are in an accident. Once the accident happened, you are locked into the coverage you had at the time of the accident for your claim.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Ballen, O’Rourke & Wildstein, P.C. handle UM and UIM cases on a daily basis. If you were injured in an accident and you believe the other drive may not have adequate coverage, our firm will investigate the issue for you and help you determine all of the policies that may owe you UM or UIM benefits.