The basics of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage

Imagine the following situations:

  • Your child is crossing the street and is seriously injured by a drunk driver. You learn that the driver had the state-minimum of $15,000 in liability insurance coverage. This is not nearly enough to pay for for the lifelong pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost wages that will be incurred. 
  • You are driving home late at night. A car travels into your lane. In order to avoid a collision, you veer off the road and hit a telephone pole. The other vehicle is never identified.
  • You are hit by a car that sped through a red light. The other driver gives you his insurance card at the scene of the accident. A week later, you contact the insurance company to make a claim. You learn that the policy was cancelled a month prior to the accident and there is no insurance coverage for your injuries.

In each of these situations, the damages sustained are greater than the insurance coverage for the driver who caused the collision. Fortunately, you can protect yourself, your household family members, and your passengers by purchasing underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy. This coverage allows you to make a claim with your own insurance company for injuries caused by another driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage protects you when the other driver has insurance coverage, but it is not enough to pay for your injuries. Because Pennsylvania only requires drivers to have $15,000 coverage for another person's injuries, it is common for a driver to cause an accident and be unable to fully pay the injured party. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you when the other driver has no insurance coverage or is unidentified, like in a hit and run collision. Because underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Pennsylvania, it is important that you review your insurance policy to make sure you have it.

Because underinsured and uninsured motorist claims are complex, it is important to hire an attorney to get you the best result. Both cases require an extensive review of insurance forms to make sure you are getting the full amount of available coverage. In underinsured motorist claims, any settlement with the other driver must be approved by your insurance company before it is made. Failure to obtain this approval can reduce your recovery. Further, in uninsured motorist claims involving an unidentified driver, there are extensive reporting requirements. Failure to follow these requirements can eliminate your ability to recover uninsured motorist benefits.

It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you are injured in a car collision. This is particularly true when the other driver has no insurance coverage or insufficient coverage. At Warren McGraw & Knowles, we will perform a thorough investigation to make sure we identify all potential sources of recovery. If you’ve been hurt in a car collision, contact the attorneys at Warren McGraw & Knowles to protect your rights and get the compensation that you deserve.