Chicago IL Personal Injury Blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Uninsured (UM) / Underinsured (UIM) Coverage Explained

My insurance agent says that I can lower my auto policy premiums by excluding and/or taking low level UM/UIM coverage, should I do it?

Answer:  No!  Uninsured motorist coverage operates as protection should you or a loved one get seriously injured by a driver who has no insurance, a drunk driver that flees an accident scene and cannot be identified, a driver whose insurer pulls coverage for the loss, etc.  

It is of great importance that you carry as much UM coverage as you can afford to protect you and your family in the event that a motor vehicle accident, trucking collision, motorcycle collision, or pedestrian accident occurs, and the at-fault driver simply does not have insurance coverage.  

UM coverage operates as a source of recovery for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement.  UM compensation can be obtained through filing a claim against your own insurer and demanding formal arbitration.  The insurer must be notified and a claim must be filed (both within time periods dictated by your insurance policy) in order to obtain benefits.

Similarly, UIM coverage is utilized when the at-fault driver that causes your injuries is insured, but that insurance does not fully compensate your loss.  For example, if you or a loved one is injured by a driver who only carries $20,000.00 in insurance coverage, but your medical bills alone total $150,000.00, then the at-fault driver is considered underinsured. 

 In this situation, provided your UIM coverage exceeds the liability coverage of the at-fault driver, you can make a claim for UIM benefits against your own insurer.  The claim process is the same as that for UM coverage.  

Under Illinois law, UIM benefits cannot be "stacked".  In layman's terms, this means that if the at-fault driver has a $20,000.00 liability policy and you have $100,000.00 of UIM coverage, you DO NOT have a maximum available recovery of $120,000.00.  

Instead, your insurer gets to "set-off" amounts paid by the at-fault party's insurer.  Therefore, in our scenario, you can recover $20,000.00 from the at-fault party's insurer, and $80,000.00 ($100,000.00 UIM policy limit - $20,000.00 set-off) from your insurer.  One can see why it is vitally important to maintain high levels of UM and UIM coverage!

At Ryan, Ryan, & Landa, we specialize in obtaining maximum UM/UIM personal injury recoveries for clients.  We are trained in formally filing these claims, selecting skilled arbitrators that will sit as judge and jury on your UM/UIM injury case, and obtaining results that fully compensate clients.

Attorney Michael Viglione is available to all potential clients who wish to discuss their UM/UIM coverage and whether they should consider increasing it.  Please contact Michael today for a free consultation concerning your auto UM/UIM coverage.  One discussion can help protect you and your family in the future. 


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