What are UM, UIM, and MedPay Insurances?
Every day, Arkansas drivers sign up for car insurance with a wide range of different insurance companies, and are required to choose between several additional coverages with different limits and deductibles that they can add on to the basic liability only coverage.
Drivers typically understand why they need liability insurance to protect themselves and permissive users of their vehicle from potential damages if they negligently operate the vehicle and cause a collision. However, many drivers either do not fully understand or do not appreciate the importance of the additional coverages that they can add to their insurance policies.
The primary additional coverages that are often disregarded are: Medical Payments (MedPay); Personal Injury Protection (PIP); and Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage pays for the medical expenses of an insured person and his or her passengers after a motor vehicle collision. MedPay will pay out its benefits regardless of who caused the collision, and will generally cover an insured who is permissively driving someone else’s vehicle, and an insured or his or her family members who are injured as pedestrians.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is required in Arkansas and pays benefits for medical expenses and lost wages incurred by the insured person and his passengers injured in a motor vehicle collision.
MedPay and PIP are no-fault insurance coverages, which pay the insured regardless of who is at fault. MedPay is the same as PIP except it does not pay for lost income, only medical expenses.
Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance coverages pay insurance benefits for your damages if the other driver who caused the collision and your injuries is either uninsured or does not have sufficient insurance limits to fully pay for the damages you have incurred. Uninsured motorists are not only those driver who do not have insurance, they are also drivers who flee the scene of an accident (hit and run) and those drivers who have stolen a car. Without this coverage, if you’re injured in a motor vehicle collision through no fault of your own, you may be responsible for all of your medical payments and property damage.
Arkansas Insurance Laws require insurance companies to offer each of these additional coverages to their insureds for an extra premium charge each month, but if the insured does not want to elect for this coverage, he or she must sign a rejection denying this coverage. The offer only has to be made one time, and one signed rejection will continue until it is withdrawn by the insured.
Problems occur when a person is injured in a collision and believes that he has full coverage car insurance. If the person who hit him does not have car insurance, and the injured person rejected uninsured (UM) coverage, there is typically no place for the injured person to recover. He may be stuck with a damaged car and no one to help pay for his medical expenses.
It is essential for drivers to understand the coverages they are rejecting when signing up for car insurance. Even if you currently have car insurance, it is important to check your declarations page to determine if you have sufficient insurance coverage or if you need to make changes and elect for these additional coverages. If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision and have doubts or questions about your or the other driver’s insurance coverage, call a personal injury attorney at Rainwater, Holt &Sexton so we can help you determine the available insurance coverages under which you may recover.