Typically, after an auto accident you are expected to exchange insurance information with the other driver. But imagine one Sunday as you are driving home from brunch, another driver crashes into the side of your car as he speeds through a red light. In pain and a little woozy, you have the presence of mind to get out of your car and approach the other driver with your insurance information. Much to your horror, instead of handing you his insurance information the other driver says, “I’m sorry, I don’t have insurance.” If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, this could be the beginning of a terrible nightmare.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage) is an option you can add to your auto insurance policy that can protect you in many situations. Oftentimes, uninsured or underinsured motorists cannot afford to compensate you for your out-of-pocket damages. In the situation described above, UM/UIM coverage could give the victim some relief. UM/UIM coverage could cover compensation for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and occasionally pain and suffering.
In addition, UM/UIM coverage typically covers damages caused by a driver who does not have the state minimum insurance coverage or whose insurance company simply denies the claim. If the driver is unable to repay your out-of-pocket damages, UM/UIM coverage will set in to help you recoup some of your losses.
Auto insurance or proof of ability to fulfill financial responsibility is required in all states. However, a number of states including New York, Maryland, and West Virginia also require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Pennsylvania and Ohio do not require their drivers to carry such coverage, but purchasing UM/UIM coverage may still a good idea. The costs of an auto accident can escalate quickly.