Underinsured Motorist Coverage Explained

Even though underinsured motorist coverage (UMC) is optional in Washington state, it can protect you from financial stress following a car accident. Even if the other driver does not have the means to compensate you, the UMC policy can step in and help you repay your medical bills and lost wages.

In some states, residents are required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Washington state offers you the option to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, but it is not mandatory. However, it’s generally a good idea to explore how underinsured motorist coverage (UMC) could benefit you, especially as a recent report by the Insurance Research Council found that roughly 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured. If you are injured in an accident involving an underinsured driver, your UMC coverage will step in to help pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs resulting from the accident. Whether you are contemplating the benefits of UMC, or you’ve already opted in and would like to learn more, it’s worth taking some time to understand what it is, how it works, and how it can help you.

What to do if You’re Hit by an Underinsured Driver

As soon as the accident happens, assess the scene for injuries and call for emergency assistance, if necessary. Contact the police so that an officer can file a report, which could later assist you in building a successful personal injury claim. Gather as much documentation as you can, including the name and contact information of the other driver, passengers, and any other witnesses. Take pictures of the scene to illustrate the nature and extent of the damage. If you have UMC, you can contact your auto insurance company and file a claim to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.

What UMC Covers

If you (and your passengers) are injured in an accident involving an underinsured motorist, your UMC can pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and similar damages you suffer as a result of the accident. Depending on your UMC policy, you may also receive coverage if you were harmed by a hit-and-run driver who fled the scene. Many insurance companies offer additional coverage in the form of uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD), which can go towards paying for any damage done to your vehicle or property as a result of the incident.

Understanding the Benefits of UMC

UMC can be highly useful if your medical costs are significant and you are worried about not receiving enough compensation to help you get your life back on track. Many industry experts recommend that you purchase a minimum of $100,000 in UMC, as you want to make sure you are sufficiently protected from severe financial hardship caused by your injuries. By opting in for UMC, you can give yourself a bigger safety net in the event that another motorist injures you and their underinsured status prevents you from pursuing compensation. If the other driver is underinsured, they are not likely to have the means to compensate you for your injuries. So, UMC can ease the financial burden of the accident’s difficult aftermath, as you struggle to repay the costly medical bills and miss out on much-needed wages.

On Your Side

If you are coping with injuries caused by an underinsured driver and you’d like to learn more about how you can collect compensation, it’s worth it to consult a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action. Reach out to the dedicated legal professionals at Henderson Taylor Law Firm by calling our Vancouver office today at (360) 737-1478.