Many times over the years, people have asked me if there’s anything that can be done if the party responsible for causing injuries in an auto accident simply doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the value of the injuries suffered in their case.
Often, there is hope if the client had the forsight to purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage.
This coverage is purchased just like any other auto insurance and basically protects the owner of a car and his family and passenger if they suffer injury by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage.
For example, lets say someone is injured and has $20,000 in medical bills and $15.000 wage loss as a result of an auto accident. If the other party had the California insurance minimum coverage of $15,000 for a single injury, then all that could ordinarily be recovered from that personsinsurance is $15,000. Obvoiusly, that would leave the injured party at least $20,000 in the hole.
If, however, he or she had the forsight to add underinsured motorist protection to their policy say for the sum of $100,000 (The MINIMUM I suggest client’s obtain in California) then after recovering the $15,000 from the other party’s insurance, the injured party could make an underinsured motorist claim against his or her own policy and be able to obtain another $85,000 potentially (The difference between the $15,000 third party policy and their own underinsured motorist limits),
The cost of underinsured motorist protection is very cheap compared to liability insurance. I strongly suggest that everyone obtain this excellent insurance protection for at least $100,000 and higher if you have higher liability limits.