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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

Understanding Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Why It’s So Important

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Unfortunately, many drivers try to save money by having “minimum” car insurance policies. These are policies with coverage limits that would barely cover a routine fender-bender accident. If you get into a serious auto accident and the at-fault driver has this type of auto insurance policy, you need to see what type of Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage you have.

In short, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the other party doesn’t have any insurance, or has inadequate insurance coverage. To that end, if the at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance, the injured party cannot get money for their injuries from the negligent driver, in which case uninsured motorist coverage would pick up the bills. This happens more than you might think.

In several states, such as Virginia, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is different but operates similarly to that of UM coverage. With UIM, the liability policy of the driver at fault is not enough to cover the injuries of the other driver and passengers. Therefore UIM would pay the difference between the at-fault driver’s policy limits the amount of available UIM coverage.

In general, UM and UIM coverage pays only for medical injuries to the driver and passengers of the hit car.

Virginia Insurance Requirements

VA drivers must certify the vehicle is covered by minimum insurance requirements or they must pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500, which is paid dired to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and does not provide insurance; it only allows you to drive an uninsured vehicle at your own risk. Below are the required coverage amounts and laws.

  • Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000
  • Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000
  • Property damage $20,000

General Rules When Considering Auto Insurance

Compare quotes from more than one insurance company before signing on the dotted line.

Ask for more than one quote that shows the cost difference for different options to make sure you understand the cost and the difference in coverage.

Do not to think “cheapest” in terms of auto insurance. People are often horrified to find out just how little coverage they have should they find themselves a victim in a serious accident.

If after an accident you find yourself dealing with a claims adjuster, don’t rely on them to have your best interests at heart. Let decisions regarding your medical treatment be decided by you and your doctors. Insurance companies are known for denying and delaying don’t fall victim to their tactics.

Lastly, remember that auto insurance is more than complying with the law, it’s also for your safety and protection.