While the answer to this question may vary per state, the basic definition of an underinsured motorist is this: A person who carries insurance on their vehicle, but may not carry enough insurance protection to take care of all your injuries or all your damage to property.
Different Plans for Different States
Each state usually requires a set amount of insurance protection for a vehicle to be legal and be on the road.
In Ohio, the state does not mandate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In Ohio, these coverages are combined together and are not required by the state to carry this protection -- it is truly up to you. With Underinsured Motorists, this coverage will pay for your medical bills and damage done to your property if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage; this coverage fills the gap. While in Georgia, in order to not carry Underinsured Motorist coverage, you are required to reject in writing. Not every state has the same requirements, and it always a good practice to have a conversation with your agent to learn more.
- Non-stacking - Some states do not allow you to stack auto insurance coverage for all household members, but holds the coverage limit to the policy the involved vehicle is on. This means your limits available are capped at the policy limit, no matter how severe the damage to the vehicle or the severity of the injuries. Michigan is one of the states which do not offer stacked coverage.
- Stacking - There are 32 states which allow some version of stacking. This means that if the at-fault person does not have enough insurance for your injuries or damage to your property or vehicles, then you could use the additional auto coverage from household member's auto underinsured motorist policies. Here is a real life experience by Vickie Williams:
"The underinsured motorist coverage was my greatest asset about 15 years ago. I was involved in a motorcycle accident and the at-fault person only had 25/50/25 for their limits. My hospital bills were almost half a million dollars. I was able to go to my own underinsured motorists coverage and my daughter's underinsured motorists coverage (since she was living with me at the time) and get the coverage I needed to pay off my hospital bills. I will never go a day without underinsured motorist coverage!!!!"
Combined Single Limit - a pre-set limit of insurance protection you select at the time you started your policy. Bodily injury per person, bodily injury total accident and total property damage are all combined in this limit. In South Carolina, this limit can be the same limit of coverage you would provide others (liability limits) or less.
Split Limits - are broken down into three sections:
- Bodily injury per person
- Bodily injury total accident
- Property Damage total accident
The amount of underinsured motorist insurance coverage you select determines coverage available for you if the at-fault person does not have enough coverage to take care of your injuries, your becoming disabled, or your death. It is an important coverage to have to protect yourself. Accidents happen - be protected!
We Can Help!
Not sure what limits you need or even if you are required to carry underinsured motorist coverage? We can help! Give us a call today or request a consultation with one of our knowledgeable sales associates.
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