By: Christina DiSalvo
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is an often misunderstood coverage on an auto policy. It is designed to protect you in the event you are in an accident with another party who doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have sufficient insurance for the damages.
But many people don’t realize that this protects you not only when you are behind the wheel, but also if you are a passenger or even pedestrian. Yes, pedestrian. Whether you are walking across the street, riding a bicycle or standing on the side of the road, the auto policy will come into play if you are hit by a motor vehicle.
I’ve had two clients who were glad they had this coverage in place.
The first client was crossing the street with his wife, with the light in the crosswalk. They were both hit by an automobile who was turning right. The owner of that automobile had California state minimum limits, $15,000 per person for bodily injury with a maximum $30,000 for bodily injury. As you can imagine, their medical bills were extensive. The uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of their auto policy was triggered along with their excess uninsured/underinsured liability found on their umbrella policy.
The second client was standing outside his ranch property, in the bicycle lane, stopping traffic so his wife and son could bring in a couple of cattle that had gotten loose on the road. To prevent the cattle from causing an accident, they established clear road blocks to slow and stop traffic. All vehicles were stopped but one. An automobile came speeding up behind the stopped traffic, instead of slowing down and stopping, whipped around the stopped vehicle in front of him and hit my client. The vehicle was going at least 50 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. This driver also had the minimum California state limits. This claim is still ongoing but the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from my client’s auto policy is responding to the claim.
The good news in both these situations, the clients survived their encounters with the automobiles.
The point of sharing these stories is to remind you to not only purchase UM/UIM on your auto policy, but to match limits with your umbrella policy as well. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage isn’t just about providing medical coverage, it’s about pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of life (if that were the tragic outcome) and getting your life back on track after an unfortunate accident.
Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate. Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.