Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) is optional insurance you can add to your automobile insurance policy. It provides insurance coverage if you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault and the other driver did not have car insurance or lacked sufficient insurance to cover the full extent of your loss.
A UM/UIM insurance policy provides coverage similar to bodily injury coverage. Under certain circumstances, it will pay the cost of medical bills, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairments. The primary difference is that a UM/UIM policy provides you with additional coverage if the other driver is uninsured or if your claim exceeds the limits of their insurance policy.
Under Texas law, drivers must carry an automobile insurance policy with minimum limits of:
Nonetheless, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 20% of Texas drivers are uninsured. If you are hurt in a car accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who only carries state minimum coverage, your UM/UIM coverage may provide compensation for your injuries up to the limits of your policy.
UM/UIM coverage applies in two situations: when the other driver does not have insurance, or when the other driver has insurance but it is not enough to cover the full extent of your losses.
To seek compensation under your Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM), you must first prove that the other driver did not have insurance. In most cases, this fact will be noted on the police report. Sometimes it can be proven with a letter from the insurance company of the other driver if the other driver provided insurance but their coverage wasn't active. Once you establish that the other driver was uninsured, your lawyer can present evidence to establish the extent of your losses and work to negotiate a resolution to your UM claim.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) applies when the other driver has insurance, but it is insufficient to cover the full extent of your loss. Even if you don't have this optional coverage, the insurance company must prove you signed a document rejecting the coverage. If they cannot provide the signature, they must provide UIM coverage.
To establish a UIM claim, you must prove that your damages exceed the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy. Once the other driver’s insurance carrier agrees to pay an amount equal to the limits of their policy, you can seek additional compensation through your UIM carrier.
For example, suppose you were hurt in a car accident and incurred $40,000 in medical bills. Assume the other driver had a state minimum policy that provided $30,000 in coverage. Once the other driver’s insurance provider agrees to pay the policy limits ($30,000), you can pursue additional compensation through your UIM carrier.
Insurance policy limits are the maximum amount an insurance company will pay on a claim. When a driver buys an insurance policy, they choose an amount of insurance coverage. Higher coverage amounts cost more. Some drivers opt to purchase a minimum-limits insurance policy, while others forego insurance coverage entirely.
You are not required to hire a lawyer to make a UM/UIM claim. But an experienced personal injury lawyer can help gather the information necessary to prove your claim, present it in a way that will maximize your financial recovery, and fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. The personal injury lawyers at McKinney Vos have years of experience representing people who were hurt in car accidents. We know how to prepare your case to maximize your financial recovery. And working with us will ease your burden so you can focus on your physical recovery and well-being.
Navigating a UM/UIM claim can present unique challenges. When you work with McKinney Vos, we will carefully analyze your situation, prepare a settlement demand describing how your life was impacted by the car accident, and work to negotiate a favorable resolution to your claim. If a resolution is not forthcoming, we have the experience, resources, and expertise to file a lawsuit and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Obtaining the compensation you deserve after a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can be challenging. McKinney Vos is here to help so you can focus on healing and putting your life back together.