We all are creatures of habit. Comfortable in the routines that make up our day to day life, we make our way each day through the necessities of survival and the pleasures that give us our joy in life. One day fades into the next, and years pass. Then everything suddenly changes. A young driver takes a moment to look at an incoming text, his attention diverted for just an instant, and his vehicle crosses the center line directly into your path. The collision is violent, but all seems to happen in slow motion. A strange cataclysm of sudden jolting pain mixes with a numbness. The next thing you know you are in and out of a fuzzy, medication induced haze in a cold hospital room. Your habits and routines of work, home, and relationships are only a part of hope rather than your reality.
You also hope that careless driver had good insurance coverage – as you become aware of your medical bills stacking up. As you begin, with determination, the effort through aching pain to get your life back, you wonder how you are going to avoid financial ruin. And then you learn that he had only the minimal liability coverage of $25,000. Your medical bills already are more than that. You feel your life is out of control.
But wait. You had the foresight to purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Your insurance agent told you that UIM coverage was optional (even on full coverage) and cheap. She told you that because they insured three vehicles for your family that these UIM coverages would stack (meaning you could add them together when needed), so that if someone injured you and had only minimal coverage, your own UIM coverages would kick in and help you through the rough time. You said, ‘yes, I want that.’
In Missouri, unlike in Kansas and Oklahoma, UIM coverages must be separately purchased. UIM coverages are ordinarily very cheap, compared to collision coverage or liability coverage. UIM coverages help you and your passengers when someone carelessly injures you but does not have enough insurance to take care of the harms he caused. UIM coverages give you more control over regaining your life and keeping you from financial desperation. If you think you have full coverage – you should look again. Many insurance agents are not telling their customers/clients about UIM coverage. Many of our clients think they are covered, only to discover too late that they did not even know about UIM being separate from uninsured motorist coverages.
It is this simple: UIM covers you and your loved ones when someone else has complied with the mandatory law and has at least some liability insurance – albeit at times the minimum amount of $25,000. UM covers you ONLY when the careless driver has no insurance at all. Most all full coverage insurance policies have UM coverage, but many do not have UIM coverage. You must specifically elect to purchase it.
I hope you never need UM or UIM. But the old saying of ‘hope for the best, but plan for the worst’ is a wise one. Life can suddenly be changed even when you do everything right. It is best if that tragedy strikes for you to be able to control as much of what happens to you financially as you can. Take a look at your coverages on your insurance policy. We suggest you tell your agent you want as much UIM coverage as you have in liability coverage.