Q: Should I Pay for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage on my Automobile Insurance Policy?
A: In a word, ABSOLUTELY. Paying for uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage protects you and your family. However, because UM and UIM coverage are not required by Arizona’s minimum insurance laws, many people do not understand the importance of having both. True, drivers in Arizona are required by law to have at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage – insurance that covers the medical bills and injuries of people injured by a negligent driver. So, you might ask yourself, why would I need uninsured motorist coverage? Unfortunately, many drivers break the law and drive without insurance. In fact, in 2012, Arizona state officials estimated that close to 12% of the 4.8 million vehicles on Arizona roads were uninsured—more than one in ten! The consequences of getting in an accident with an uninsured driver can be pretty grim. Even if you are not at fault, if the other driver has no insurance, you may end up paying for your own medical expenses. You may also have to deal with lost income if your injuries or treatment keep you out of work. Uninsured motorist coverage protects your family in this situation and provides you the benefits you need. Also, many people don’t know that UM coverage also pays your medical bills and lost income if you are injured by a hit and run driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage is just as important. Even those drivers that do have liability insurance coverage may not have enough to cover your medical expenses and lost wages if you are hurt in an accident. While the Arizona minimum of $15,000 of liability coverage may sound like a lot, it would not even be sufficient to cover the ambulance and emergency room visit in a serious injury accident, leaving you with potentially thousands of dollars of medical expenses to pay out of your pocket. Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in where the at-fault driver’s liability coverage runs out. UIM coverage can give you peace of mind that if something unexpected happens to you or your family, you’re covered.
Remember, UM and UIM coverage protects you. If you have a “liability only” policy on your car, you may be meeting the minimum requirements of Arizona law, but you are not taking care of yourself and your family. Check your insurance policy today to make sure you have BOTH UM and UIM coverage. And, make sure your policy limits are the same as your Bodily Injury (BI) liability coverage limit–you should never have less UM/UIM than you do BI coverage. Talk to your insurance agent today about adding UM/UIM coverage. If you don’t, you are not protecting yourself and your family.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Should I Pay for Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at 480.461.5335, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.
 See, “Lawmakers won’t crack down on drivers without insurance,” East Valley Tribune online, March 23, 2012.