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What is underinsured motorist coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is a provision in your auto insurance policy that provides benefits if you are involved in an auto accident that is someone else’s fault and they don’t have enough insurance to cover your damages.  Many people think that when they are in an auto accident that is someone else’s fault the at-fault person’s insurance will cover all their damages.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Missouri requires drivers to carry $25,000 minimum in liability insurance coverage and many drivers carry just that, the minimum.  This means if you are in an accident that is someone else’s fault and you have damages above the at-fault person’s policy limits, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for damages that aren’t your fault.  Damages include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other losses suffered because of an accident.  If you carry UIM, your UIM may help fill in the gap.  Let’s say you carry $100,000 in UIM and are in an accident that is someone else’s fault, and they carry the minimum coverage of $25,000.  The accident causes you to suffer damages of $100,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  The at-fault driver’s $25,000 liability insurance doesn’t come close to compensating you for your damages.  This is where UIM coverage would kick in and cover the remaining portion of your damages.  This is a very simplified example that sounds straight forward, however, what should be a simple process almost never is.  When trying to collect your UIM benefits, it may start to feel like you’re fighting your own insurance company for what you are entitled to.  They may not agree that your damages are $100,000 and put you in a position of having to prove your pain and suffering.  Navigating what insurance coverage is available to you after an accident that wasn’t your fault can be a complicated, difficult, and stressful process.  Working with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with insurance companies can help take the burden off your shoulders and ensure that you are recovering the maximum amount possible for your damages.

If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and suffered serious injuries, please reach out to The A.W. Smith Law Firm for a free, no obligation case evaluation.