Uninsured Motorist coverage, commonly referred to as UM, covers you when the person responsible for your injuries is not insured.
But we live in a mandatory insurance state, you say, isn’t everyone insured?
Well, they are supposed to be.
But some folks decide to tempt fate and not purchase insurance.
Others forget to keep their insurance current. Still, others cancel their policy not realizing they canceled the policy for the car they still drive instead of the motorcycle they don’t.
Then, there are the times when their own policy language excludes coverage for them. Some examples would be when the driver did not have the owner’s permission to drive the vehicle, the vehicle was being used for commercial purposes (more on the Uber-importance of that later!), or a person without a valid license was driving.
All you need to do to purchase UM insurance is to purchase liability coverage. You are automatically covered by the same limits as your liability policy unless you specifically refuse UM coverage in writing.
When you purchase insurance, and I always recommend you do it through an insurance broker, rather than off the Internet, you should review exactly what your policy covers, the limits of liability, and any optional coverages you can purchase.
The Illinois minimum insurance limits are $25,000 per person per incident and $50,000 per incident total. This is barely adequate for anything more than a minor fender bender. All it takes is one broken wrist of a cyclist you hit or a back surgery for the person you rear-ended to make these disappear quickly. I encourage people to purchase much more coverage, as much as they can afford.
Uber and other rideshare companies are the perfect examples of when UM might come into play. Every insurance policy I’ve ever seen excludes using your personal vehicle for commercial purposes. If you don’t tell your insurance company you will be driving for Lyft, Uber, or one of the other “gig” economy providers, that carrier will surely deny all claims that occur using your vehicle even if you were not driving for them at the time! (refer to past Uber blog here)
In other words, if you are involved in a crash with an off-duty Uber driver, you are likely only going to be able to recover if you use your own UM coverage. That is exhibit A on why you need UM coverage!
Underinsured Motorist Coverage, or UIM, is very important in that there are a lot of insured drivers who have very minimal insurance coverage, such as the state minimums mentioned above.
Have you ever been to the hospital for a fractured arm? Ever gotten a bill for a “minor” surgery? Start adding zeroes because those bills get steep quickly. If you are seriously injured in an auto crash, your UIM coverage may be the only thing allowing you to receive adequate compensation.
As discussed in a prior blog, UIM allows you to receive up to the difference in the value of your UIM limits and the tortfeasor’s liability limits. For example, as we noted in the blog about the lady with the mascara on the ceiling, the injuries were severe, the other driver only had $100,000 in coverage, and her medical bills were about that much. IF she had had her own coverage of say $250,000, she could have recovered as much as another $150,000.
If you have the misfortune of tripping, slipping, or falling, contact a lawyer immediately.
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a personal injury lawyer.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He has been named a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.