Underinsured Motorist Coverage is defined as: Coverage available under your personal automobile insurance policy when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy has been exhausted but is insufficient to fully cover the injuries and damages.
Because the driver did not have a large enough policy to cover all of the medical expenses, the injured driver’s Underinsured Motorist Coverage covered the rest of the costs.
After being involved in a car accident, George’s car was needing $5,000 in repair. George talked with the other driver’s insurance company, but discovered that they would only cover up to $2,500 in repairs. Fortunately, George had Underinsured Motorist Coverage on his insurance policy that would pay up to $5,000 in repairs in the case that the other driver did not have enough to cover all of the costs. George used this money in addition to the other driver’s money to fix his car.
Underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage for “bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death” for those who are “legally entitled to recover damages” (31A-22-305.3 (2)a). Drivers can opt out of Underinsured Motorist Coverage, but we strongly recommend carrying this on your policy. Utah defines an underinsured motorist as a vehicle covered under a liability policy at the time of the accident, but which has “insufficient liability coverage to compensate fully the injured party for all special and general damages” (31A-22-305.3 (1)b(i)). It does not consider any of the following to be underinsured motorists: 1) an uninsured vehicle 2) a vehicle owned or leased by the insured person claiming the accident 3) a vehicle also covered by the same insurance policy as the one with the underinsured coverage (31A-22-305.3 (1)b(ii)). There are 2 ways to seek payment from an underinsured motorist: binding arbitration or litigation (31A-22-305.3 (8)a). Some insurance policies mandate that UIM claims go to arbitration (Utah Auto Law). You would not necessarily need a lawyer for binding arbitration, but you will also agree to share the costs of using an arbitrator with the person who hit you. With Christensen & Hymas, you will not have to pay a dime until we win your case and ensure that you get a fair settlement. For more specifics on Utah’s laws regarding Underinsured Motorist Coverage, please view their website. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
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