What is Underinsured Motorist/Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Why is it Important?

Insurance Policy

The on-demand ride-sharing service Lyft recently announced that it is offering several additional insurance coverages, including a $1,000,000 limit covering drivers if they are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist that is at fault. This will protect Lyft drivers in the event of a collision with another motorist who does not carry the requisite insurance. Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) insurance is an important consideration for all Pennsylvania drivers seeking to protect themselves in the event of a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

The Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Problem

Although Pennsylvania state law requires that all licensed drivers carry liability insurance in order to drive a car, many drivers do not comply with the law. In fact, one in seven drivers has no insurance. This means that at any point when driving on a busy street, there are several drivers in the vicinity who carry no liability insurance. There has recently been an increase in the number of these uninsured motorists on the road. This increase is thought to be linked to rising unemployment rates as a result of the recent economic downturn.

Uninsured motorists cause tens of billions of damage every year in the United States. By failing to properly insure their vehicles, these drivers pose a risk to themselves and to others. If you do not have UM coverage, in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you are forced to pay for injuries and damages out of your own pocket.

UM Coverage in Pennsylvania

UM coverage is optional in Pennsylvania and is available for all licensed drivers. UM coverage will cover the expenses incurred by victims when the other driver either does not have insurance or fails to have enough liability insurance to cover the costs associated with the accident. UM coverage covers the policyholder and any other drivers listed on the policy, as well as any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident. UM coverage will not, however, cover property damage resulting from a hit and run accident. Under Pennsylvania law, any property damage expenses stemming from a hit and run accident are covered by collision or comprehensive coverage. UM insurance will, however, cover medical expenses from a hit and run collision.

Additionally, UM coverage fills in the gap in the case of an expensive accident where the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to pay for all of the damages. For example, if a victim’s medical bills are $30,000 and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance only pays $10,000, then the victim’s UM coverage will pay the remaining $20,000 in medical bills. UM insurance can therefore be a huge benefit when the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today

Although drivers cannot ever fully protect themselves from the risks associated with an auto accident with an uninsured motorist, UM insurance provides the best protection against unlawful drivers on the road. If you or someone you know may have been injured in a car accident, please contact Solnick & Associates today. Call us at (215) 481-9979

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