How do uninsured and underinsured motorist insurances help?

There are certain things that you can’t talk about in court.  We operate under a system of rules that are designed to give all parties a fair trial.  One of those rules is that we can’t talk about whether the person or company being sued has insurance to pay for any judgment.  Sometimes, a driver must sue his or her own insurance company to get paid under his or her policy.  In those cases, the jury gets to know about the existence of insurance, since that is what the case is about.  But when another driver hits you and causes you injuries, if your case goes to a jury, the jury won’t be told that there is insurance to cover whatever amount you may be given by them.  Sometimes juries are worried that if they pay you what you deserve, it might have to come out of the other driver’s pocket.   That is rarely the case.

Usually, very few cases go to trial when there is not an insurance policy available to pay for the damages.  Many cases go to trial because the parties don’t agree on how much should be paid to the injured person.  Even though juries are not told about insurance it is usually safe to assume there is insurance there to pay an award the jury thinks is just.

Arkansas requires that all drivers have a minimum of $25,000 in insurance in order to be driving.  But $25,000 may not cover of all the medical expenses, the time off work, any permanent injuries, or future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred because of the injuries.  Even when the limits are higher, it still may not be enough.  For instances, a driver hits you tomorrow and as a result, you lose your leg.  Policy limits of $100,000 would not be enough to take care of your medical bills, your loss of income or maybe even your livelihood, and certainly not the loss of your leg.  To be smart, check with your insurance agent about increasing your own limits and about getting additional coverage that would protect you if the person who hits you doesn’t have enough insurance to pay your damages (underinsured motorist “UIM”) or if the person who hits you violated the law by not having any insurance (uninsured motorist “UM”), or to cover your medical expenses that health insurance won’t (med pay).

If you don’t know whether you have UIM or UM, or additional coverage available for medical expenses, get with your agent.  In your hectic schedule, it is easy not spend much time reviewing policy coverages and just take your agent’s suggestions.  But premiums for higher coverage amounts are usually very reasonable and will leave you better protected against the perils that exist out there. It’s the smart move and worth your time.

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