In the State of Missouri, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance coverage minimums of at least $25,000. In addition, Missouri drivers must also have $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. However, underinsured motorist coverage is not mandated by Missouri law, public policy, or otherwise. For this reason, many Missourians do not realize the importance of this critical safety net.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash in Missouri that was caused by the careless driving of someone else, the negligent driver’s liability insurance will be available to cover your harms and losses. However, Missouri law only mandates that a driver carry $25,000 of liability insurance coverage. This means that if your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future medical bills, future pain and suffering, etc., exceed $25,000, there will be insufficient insurance coverage available to cover your loss. Underinsured motorist coverage is the remedy to this problem of an accident with an underinsured driver.
In today’s society we cannot always rely on other people to carry adequate insurance coverage limits. Individuals are free to purchase as much coverage as they would like; however, they are only required to carry $25,000. While the wrongdoer is still responsible for all the damages they case, regardless of how much insurance they carry, if the person who hit you lacks enough insurance coverage to cover your loss and is also without sufficient assets from which to reimburse you for your loss, then underinsured motorist coverage provides additional protections.
Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when a negligent driver lacks the insurance coverage and assets to pay for your injury. For example, if someone negligently runs into your vehicle and you are seriously injured, an extended hospital stay can easily result in over $25,000 of medical bills. This does not even include reimbursement for your lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Despite the fact that you are not responsible for the crash, if your insurance policy includes underinsured motorist coverage, you will have the ability to seek reimbursement for the remainder of your losses.
How Much Underinsured Motorist Coverage Should I Carry?
This depends on the risk you would like protect. No one expects to be injured in an automobile crash. However, if you are seriously injured by a negligent driver who lacks enough liability insurance to reimburse you for your injuries, you may face financial ruin. Hospital providers do not care that you have received an injury through no fault of you own. They will require that you pay their bill regardless. Countless bankruptcies are filed each year as the result of crash related medical bills. Making sure you have underinsured motorist coverage protects you and your family from financial ruin if you hit are by a reckless driver.
IMPORTANT REAL WORLD SCENARIO: Many drivers think they have coverage which they actually do not. For instance, let’s say a driver hits you and that driver has $25,000 of liability insurance. Imagine you sustain injuries requiring medical treatment of $125,000. In addition, let us imagine you have $100,000 of underinsured motorist coverage. In this senario many injury victims believe they will have enough coverage to at least pay for their medical treatment; however, if your insurance policy has a setoff provision in the contract, you may only have $100,000 total to pay for the loss. Insurance corporations sneak language into their policies which give them a setoff from the other drivers insurance limits. In this senario above, many policies will state that since the other driver had $25,000 of coverage, they are only responsible for an additional $75,000 in coverage (for a combined $100,000 of coverage). This can result in financial ruin. When purchasing insurance coverage, make sure to run multiple real world senarios with your insurance agent to ensure you are adequately covered.
While underinsured motorist coverage is one additional way to protect yourself from a careless or reckless driver, it is important to contact a Missouri personal injury lawyer after any automobile crash. Despite carrying enough insurance coverage, insurance corporations make money in one way only: They must take in more each year than they pay out. Insurance companies attempt to deny valid claims to increase their profits. A Missouri personal injury attorney will fight against these large corporations and level the playing field while you focus on your recovery. Call (314) 409-7060 or toll-free at 855-40-CRASH today for more information.