Uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) are types of automobile insurance coverage you can buy to protect yourself and your loved ones. This insurance coverage is provided by your insurance company as one part of your own auto policy. UM pays the compensation a negligent driver owes for your injuries if the driver does not have insurance or hurts you in a hit and run accident. UIM pays additional compensation for your losses to if the at fault driver’s (bad guy) did not buy a large enough policy to fully compensate you.
Idaho law does not require that you by either UM or UIM coverage. We recommend, however, that you purchase as much of these types of insurance coverage as works within your budget. It is relatively cheap and protects your family. Its always worthwhile to review your insurance coverage at the start of the year
How Does UM coverage work
This is pretty simple, when bad driver causes you an injury and you learn they did not have liability insurance your UM insurance policy provides a benefit to you and allows you to recover your damages. There are some specific rules that apply but your insurance company has a legal obligation to treat you fairly or you will have a claim to recover your attorney fees as well.
How Does UIM Coverage work?
Idaho requires drivers to purchase insurance with a minimum bodily injury limit of $25,000.00 per injured party with a total potential payout of $50,000.00. You don’t have to be injured very severely in an automobile accident for medical bills to use up all that insurance money. Then you have the rest of the economic damages—lost wages and the like, and non-economic damages, like pain, suffering and inconvenience. UIM coverage provides additional money to cover these losses and expenses. IN Idaho, as soon as you can ascertain that the insurance coverage for the bad guy is insufficient, you can assert a claim for under your UIM coverage.
Am I Required to Purchased UIM Coverage?
No. The only insurance you are required to buy is liability coverage. That coverage provides a benefit to other people that you happen to injure. UM & UIM provide a benefit to you and to loved ones. Your insurance carrier is required to give you the opportunity to purchase these coverages and you have to sign a waiver not to choose them. You may waive UIM coverage from your policy. However, should you suffer a severe injury, if you don’t have UIM coverage, you may not receive the maximum compensation you are owed for the injuries you’ve sustained. Even though you aren’t legally required to purchase UIM coverage, UIM coverage provides you with a significant benefit for only a relatively minor increase to your monthly premium.
Should I Buy Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Yes! We don’t use exclamation points often but it is appropriate here. UM/UIM coverage is relatively cheap and protects you and your loved ones.
The Disappearing Coverage Problem
One very unfair aspect of Idaho law is that it allows so-called disappearing, or phantom, UIM coverage, Idaho law allows carriers to sell UIM that only pays after subtracting the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance from your coverage. This means the amount shown as your UIM limit is reduced by whatever the other driver’s coverage amount was. So your limit is equal to only the total amount paid by both insurance companies. It is not an additional amount your company will pay after the other driver’s company pays. So in Idaho if you buy $25,000 in UIM coverage and are injured by a driver with a minimum limits policy of $25,000 your UIM has zero value to you.
Call us at (208) 386-9119 for any questions about your auto insurance coverage or if you need to make a claim for an injury. We are always striving to be the best personal injury lawyers in Idaho.