Let’s be honest, unless you’re in the insurance business, you probably don’t know what uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage is and why it’s important. So let’s begin by discussing the three common types of uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage and end with 5 reasons why you should consider having one or all three on your Ohio car insurance policy.
What is Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury liability? (also known as UMBI)
This coverage provides bodily injury coverage for you and occupants of your car who are injured in an accident caused by another vehicle that has no liability insurance. It’s important to note this is an OPTIONAL coverage in the state of Ohio. Also it’s important to note it can match your bodily injury liability limit OR be at a lower limit, but can NEVER be higher.
Here’s an example of what it would look like on an Ohio car insurance policy:
Bodily injury liability- $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury liability- $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident*
*can be lower- for example $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident.
Here’s an example of how UMBI would work in a claim situation:
You’re hit by another vehicle. The other driver is at fault. Both you and your passenger sustain injuries. The other vehicle is not insured. In this situation, your auto insurance will pay up to the policy limit for injuries to you and your passenger. Let’s say you have $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for UMBI. This means your insurance will pay up to $100,000 for you and up to $100,000 for your passenger for bodily injury sustained by an uninsured vehicle.
What is Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury liability? (also known as UIMBI)
This is similar to Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury, EXCEPT the other vehicle IS insured but doesn’t have ENOUGH coverage to pay for the injuries.
Here’s a UIMBI claim that actually happened to one of our customers:
Our customer (let’s call him George), was driving in the country. Another driver (let’s call him Fred), ran a stop sign and T-boned George. The other vehicle was insured at state minimum limits (which at the time of the accident was $12,500 per person and $25,000 per accident for bodily injury liability- Ohio increased the limits in 2013). George’s medical bills came to $125,000. The other company paid the policy maximum of $12,500 per person and closed the claim (because a maximum is a maximum after all). That left $112,500 of medical bills left to pay.
George filed an Underinsured Motorists claim under his car insurance to help pay the balance. Let’s say George had $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for UIMBI. Subtracting $50,000 from the $112,500 leaves a $62,500 balance, which would either fall to health insurance, George or perhaps the other party via a lawsuit.
* Worth a mention- This makes a great case for purchasing a higher limit of liability and subsequently, uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. It protects you from situations like above.
What is Uninsured Motorists Property Damage? (UMPD)
This covers property damage to your vehicle. So if your car is damaged by an uninsured vehicle (and sometimes an underinsured vehicle), you can use this coverage to get the vehicle fixed. It is purchased at a set limit of coverage ($7,500 is the lowest available with higher limits available) and subject to a deductible, much like comprehensive and/or collision coverage.
Next we’ll talk about 5 reasons why you should consider having one or all three on your Ohio care insurance policy.
Reason 1 why you should have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage
Most important reason- because you cannot depend on the other vehicle being insured or having ENOUGH insurance to pay for injuries you or your passengers sustain. The state of Ohio only requires a limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury to be considered “financially responsible”. In the interest of cost savings, many people buy this state minimum limit. Or some people choose NOT to have car insurance. You have to purchase an amount that will protect YOU and your passengers. That’s the only thing you have control over.
Reason 2 why you should have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage
Following from Reason 1, if the other vehicle doesn’t have enough liability insurance, and you have to sue, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the money. What if the vehicle owner has no assets or very few? Nothing to collect from there. If the vehicle owner is employed, then wage garnishment is an option for collection. But what if that person is unemployed? Again, nothing to collect from. If there’s nothing available to take, then no money will come your way.
Reason 3 why you should have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage
If you don’t have health insurance, then UMBI/UIMBI gives you a way to help pay for your auto-accident related injuries. Otherwise, you’ll pay out of pocket.
Reason 4 why you should have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage
Even if you do have health insurance, if you have a higher deductible (let’s say $2500 or $5000 which seems to be even more common now), then you’ll pay out of pocket up to that deductible before the insurance starts to pay. It’s important to note that many health insurance policies include a provision that any injuries related to an “auto accident” need to first be paid by any other valid and collectible insurance, before they pay. An auto insurance policy certainly fits that category.
And let’s not forget about Uninsured Motorists Property Damage coverage- Reason 5
Although this coverage is not seen as often as the Bodily Injury coverage, it still serves a valuable purpose.
As vehicles get older, customers tend to remove collision coverage, which pays to fix your vehicle as the result of an accident. If an accident occurs where your vehicle is hit by a vehicle with no auto insurance and you don’t have collision insurance, you can use the UMPD to get your vehicle fixed. So you’re not completely out in this situation.