When you’re in an accident and it’s the other driver’s fault, you have every right to expect that their insurance will cover the damages. Unfortunately, too many drivers across the nation are driving without enough insurance. That’s where uninsured motorist (UI) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage comes into the picture. Learn about UI and UIM coverage, why it’s vital to carry it on your policy, and how an insurance agent can help.
Minimum State Coverage
Every state has minimum levels of coverage that are required to operate a car legally. These minimum levels vary from state to state but generally include some combination of:
- Body injury liability
- Property damage liability
- Personal injury protection, or PIP
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UI and UIM coverage)
Wisconsin requires, at minimum, bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person with a maximum of $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage liability. Wisconsin also requires Uninsured Motorist Coverage of $25,000 per person with a maximum of $50,000 per accident.
Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage
UI stands for “uninsured motorist,” and it’s a kind of insurance that protects you if you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance at all. UIM, by comparison, covers the gap if you’re in an accident with someone who is insured but doesn’t have enough insurance.
Why Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage Matters
The sheer number of drivers on the road these days without enough coverage is nothing short of an epidemic. As of 2015, it’s estimated that some states have rates of uninsured motorists as high as 26%, a staggering number. While rates aren’t that high in Wisconsin, it’s still a major problem, with estimates indicating that about 14.3% of drivers in our state were uninsured as of 2015. The issue may get worse as the years pass and deferred billing comes due. Many will drop coverage to save money.
Why Minimum Coverage Won’t Cut It
When someone else causes an accident and they don’t have enough coverage, that leaves you alone in the cold. You can certainly file a lawsuit against them, but if they can’t pay, they can’t pay.
UI and UIM coverage exists to help you cover your medical bills, property damage, lost wages and other harm you suffer from an accident caused by another when the responsible party doesn’t have the coverage to pay for it. This kind of coverage is generally expressed as a “split limit.” On your policy, it will look something like “50/100.” This means you are covered for up to $50,000 per person in your vehicle, with a maximum of $100,000 per accident.
Sometimes, however, you may have a combined single limit, which is expressed in a single number (100, 300, 500, etc.). This number is the amount in thousands that’s available only to you as an individual and not per passenger.
Get Coverage from Burstad Insurance
If you’re looking to have your coverage reviewed or get a custom policy that will suit your needs, Burstad Insurance is here to help. We have locations in Menomonie, Chippewa Falls, Medford, River Falls, and New Richmond. Get in touch with us for a quote today!