Although Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage is not mandatory in Arizona, many people don’t realize its importance until it is too late.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
UM/UIM is additional insurance coverage available for purchase as part of a vehicle policy. UM covers medical, lost wages, and pain and suffering after personal insurance protection have been exhausted and when the other driver was at-fault and has been determined to have no, or not enough, insurance.
Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) covers drivers and/or passengers for any injuries sustained in an accident with another driver that has no liability insurance.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) is different than UM coverage. UIM provides protection if another driver injures you and/or passengers in your car but does not have enough liability insurance to pay the whole claim.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can also be used to pay bodily injury expenses for the victim of a hit and run accident.
The statistics on uninsured motorists
- The National Traffic Safety Administration reported 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 (the last year data is available for).
- According to the Insurance Research Council, there is a 1 in 7 chance of encountering an uninsured motorist in at least 25 states. In Arizona, roughly 12% of drivers are uninsured.
With so many negligent drivers on the road, any good attorney would advise all Arizona drivers to purchase UM/UIM coverage.
Injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of hospitalizations for adolescents and
- Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of hospitalizations for people aged 15-44 years.
- On average, each crash-related Emergency department visit costs an individual about $3,300 and each hospitalization costs about $57,000.
- Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of traumatic brain injury for children and young adults ages 5-24 years.
- Auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.
If a driver is seriously injured in a car accident, not only will they experience pain and suffering but they could also have to use their insurance to pay their medical bills and damages. If they have suffered serious injuries that won’t be covered by insurance, it may be time for them to talk to an attorney experienced in personal injury law.
Isn’t Insurance Required by Law?
Arizona law requires every driver to have proof of insurance, however, not every driver follows the law. Additionally, many people just purchase the legally required bare minimum with limits of only $15,000 per person bodily injury and $30,000 per accident bodily injury and $10,000 per accident property damage.
The law requires insurance; however, economic or personal circumstances cause many people either not to have any insurance or not to carry enough insurance.
- Many people cannot afford the monthly premiums of a full coverage auto policy.
- Some drivers have had numerous motor vehicle violations and thus have difficulty getting insurance.
- A person with poor credit may have been denied for an insurance policy.
- Someone may have had an insurance policy but let it lapse.
Why don’t people carry UM/UIM coverage?
People don’t carry UM/UIM insurance or just the bare minimum because:
Some people mistakenly believe that they don’t need to carry extra insurance coverage because their health insurance will take care of them in the event of a crash. However, the coverage offered by health insurance might not suffice, depending on the severity of the injuries.
Many people try to save money on their insurance premiums by reducing or eliminating their UM/UIM coverage. For the victim of a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, they could be left without any compensation for injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages.
Folger Law firm has been representing motor vehicle accident victims against negligent drivers for many years. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver. If you are successful in proving that the other driver was at fault, you may be able to recover compensation.