Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist: Insurance Terms to Know
Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist coverage are two of the most misunderstood terms in auto liability insurance. In a nutshell, these coverages are used when the at-fault driver does not have enough liability coverage or any coverage at all. It can save you the expense of covering damages you did not cause. In the state of Missouri, you must carry minimum limits of uninsured motorist. However, you can decide if you want underinsured motorist coverage or not.
When purchasing them, you can set the limits lower than the main bodily injury and property damage limits selected on your policy. Taking a closer look at these coverages and how they work can assist you in making the best decision for your circumstances.
What are they?
The law of Missouri requires any motor vehicle with a valid tag or that is driven on public roadways to carry minimum limits of auto liability coverage. Those minimum limits are $25,000 per person, with $50,000 total per accident and $10,000 property damage per accident.
This is one of the major reasons everyone in Missouri needs Underinsured Motorist. If an at-fault driver is carrying minimum limits and totals your vehicle, you will get a maximum of $10,000. If you have more than two persons injured in your auto the most you will get is $25,000 per person and it will be capped at $50,000 for all involved in the accident. There are fewer vehicles on the road today with a value of $10,000 than ever before. In addition, many accidents involve multiple cars and dividing that $10,000 between them means even more issues for those involved. Take into consideration for a moment that the average ambulance ride and emergency room charges for a non-serious injury can be over $3,000, for one person. This is where Underinsured Motorist coverage takes up the slack.
While Missouri law requires minimum limits of covearge to be carried, our advisors often have clients that are injured by a driver who has no liability coverage. In the same way, underinsured takes care when the at-fault drivers limits are too low, uninsured motorist comes in when they have no coverage.
How do they protect me?
These coverages protect in two ways. Like your general liability limits, they provide bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage. Let’s look at this example.
You are driving a 2012 Honda Pilot with three passengers. A driver rear ends the car in front of them causing them to swerve into your lane hitting you. This pushes your car off the road into a divider, totaling your auto. The car behind you is also struck while trying to regain control. You and the passenger in the front seat of your pilot are taken to the Emergency Room by ambulance. Two other people are also taken to the Emergency Room by ambulance in the other cars.
At the end of the day your Pilot valued at $19,519 is totaled. There is $16,452 in damage to the other two cars and the medical expenses on the four people taken to the emergency room total $67,000. You will only be getting a piece of the insurance from the individual that caused this accident. The rest will come from your underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury and property damage, or your savings.
What if the accident was more serious and your passenger is permanently paralyzed? The need for large amounts of insurance would be needed.
In our day and age where so many people shop for the cheapest premium without truly considering their need for coverage, Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist are principal coverages everyone needs. The only question is what are the best limits for you.
Contact us today and one of our Advisors can assist you in determining what is best for you.