Understanding UM/UIM Insurance

It’s a dangerous world out there, and we cannot always count on others to act responsibly or even abide by the law. Purchasing UM/UIM coverage on your own insurance policy allows you to take control of some of that risk by protecting yourself against drivers in Washington State who violate the law by driving without insurance or who maintain only the minimum insurance that the law requires. Here are some important facts:

  • UM/UIM stands for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and is a type of insurance benefit under which your own insurance company steps in and pays auto accident compensation if the at-fault driver lacks the insurance coverage to do so.
  • This is important because, according to the Insurance Research Council, one out of every seven drivers in the United States was uninsured in 2011. An even higher percentage maintained only the mandatory minimum coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in Washington State. These numbers will only increase as economic troubles and high unemployment continue.
  • Of course, $25,000 is paltry. Even a fairly moderate injury such as a broken leg can generate more than that in medical bills alone. This is why more and more injured drivers and passengers find themselves relying more heavily on UM/UIM benefits when the compensation available from the at-fault driver is wholly inadequate.

It is important to note, however, that just because these benefits come from your own insurance company does not mean the adjusters are on your side. In UM/UIM cases, your own insurance company often becomes your adversary, treating you the same way they would an injured third party suing their insured for compensation.