If you don’t have Uninsured Motorist (UM or UIM) coverage included with your auto insurance policy, the story below may help you decide if it’s worth getting. And, if you already have Uninsured Motorist coverage, this story can help you determine if you have enough UM coverage for both you and your family.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In Colorado, Uninsured Motorist coverage is optional coverage you can choose to purchase with your car insurance policy. Whenever you renew your auto policy or change insurance companies, you can add UM coverage to your policies or increase the amount of coverage you have.
But what is UM coverage, and what can it do for you?
UM coverage provides extra protection for you and your family if an uninsured driver crashes into your vehicle. In other words, the UM coverage in your auto policy will pay your medical bills, income losses, and even compensate you for any permanent injuries – the same as if the other driver had insurance. It also protects any other passengers who happen to be in your vehicle at the time of the collision.
The added protection you get with UM coverage applies even if the careless driver has some insurance, but not enough to fairly compensate you. UM “kick in” to give you more protection if the reckless driver’s insurance was not enough to cover your total medical bills, income losses, and any other injury-related expenses. That’s why sometimes you also hear UM called “under-insured motorist” coverage. It also protects you and your family from negligent drivers that don’t have enough insurance to pay for the injuries and damage they caused.
Is UM Coverage Worth the Price?
Unfortunately, UM is not free and will modestly increase your insurance expense. But is it worth it? Don’t we already pay enough for car insurance? Why should I pay for coverage the law says the other driver must buy?
At Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C., we have been helping people injured in motor vehicle collisions and their families for more than 150 combined years of practice experience. We think UM coverage, and the extra protection it gives you and your family, is well worth the additional cost. Over the years, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of car accidents where the at-fault driver had no insurance. While Colorado law clearly states that every resident needs to have motor vehicle insurance, there are still far too many motorists who drive without coverage.
The true story of a recent highway crash in Colorado is a perfect example of why we think you should get UM coverage.
As folks were driving home from work on April 24, 2019, there was an accident on I-70 in Lakewood. A semi-trailer truck, carrying a load of lumber, crashed into stop and go traffic that was backed up on the Interstate during rush hour. The crash sparked a tremendous firestorm that incinerated 28 vehicles. The next day, after the fire was under control, we learned that many folks suffered terrible injuries, and 4 people even lost their lives.
The police determined that the truck driver was at fault. It turned out that the truck driver, and the company that employed him, had some insurance, but only the minimum amount required by law for semi trucks: $750,000 in liability coverage. Only $750,000 to compensate grieving families, injury victims, and the owners of 28 destroyed vehicles.
Obviously, the trucker didn’t have enough insurance to cover all the death and destruction he caused. In fact, $750,000 is only a small fraction of the total damages needed to fairly compensate all the innocent motorists. The truck driver and his employer are likely to declare bankruptcy because they don’t have enough money to compensate their victims.
This recent tragedy is an example of a careless driver who was underinsured; and, of a typical trucking company that cuts its insurance costs to be more competitive. We think you can see why UM coverage was so important in this case. Some of the families had UM coverage, but many others did not. Although none of the survivors will be the same after this tragic incident, at least the folks who paid a little more for UM coverage will be able to recover financially.
Have Questions? Schedule a Consultation Today
Contact the Colorado Springs auto accident lawyers at Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C. if you require legal representation or have questions about UM coverage. Our compassionate litigators have been providing personalized services and informed legal counsel to the residents of Colorado for over 40 years. We never subscribe to a “one-size-fits-all” approach to any personal injury case; instead, we customize a strategy that actively reflects your financial needs and legal objectives. By conducting a thorough investigation and completing extensive pre-trial work, we can determine the cause of the accident and calculate the full extent of your financial losses. With this information, we can effectively negotiate or litigate for a positive case resolution on your behalf.
Contact Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C.at (719) 249-6240 to schedule a free consultation.