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Hit by an uninsured or under-insured driver?

Were you hit by someone with little or no insurance? This is why it's so important to have UM/UIM coverage.

Imagine you're involved in a violent crash caused by another driver and you're seriously injured. Maybe you have a brain injury, spinal cord injury, or damaged internal organs. Your car is totaled. You just took a $1,000 ambulance ride, you're missing work, and you're lying in a hospital bed thinking, "At least this crash wasn't my fault, so I'll be okay financially."

Unfortunately, that's often not the way things work out. While Arizona does require drivers to carry liability insurance (which pays for injuries a person causes when it's that person's fault), it only requires $15,000 in coverage. This is the State minimum, and many drivers out there have the minimum because it's the least expensive option. Some drivers have no insurance at all.

Consider this example: You have $100,000 in medical bills. You've missed a lot of work. Even if you have health insurance, you have a big deductible, and there are a lot of expenses that just aren't covered. You are told you might never fully recover, and may have pain for years or longer. The driver who turned your life upside down has $15,000 in liability insurance. His insurance company agrees it was his fault and pays you the $15,000. (Usually drivers with these minimal policies have no additional money to pay you with, so you're stuck with their insurance limit.) You could be responsible for the remaining $85,000 in medical bills, and other expenses. You've also lost wages, you can no longer play with your kids, and you may never be able to work in the same type of job you had before. You deserve much more than $15,000 but that's all you're going to get from the other driver.

So what can you do to protect yourself if this happens to you? Make sure you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage on your own auto insurance policy. UM coverage pays for your damages when they're caused by someone who has no liability insurance, and UIM coverage pays when the damages are caused by someone who doesn't have enough. And, make sure to get as much UM/UIM as you can under your policy! Sometimes people choose high liability limits, but they get minimum limits on UM/UIM, which makes no sense. By doing this, you are protecting other people but failing to provide as much protection as possible for you and the people you care about most.

It's relatively inexpensive to add UM/UIM to your policy, and it's well worth it if you're stuck in a scenario like the one described above. All too often we see people in this predicament who wish they had purchased UM/UIM coverage. 

FYI, under Arizona law your insurance carrier is not allowed to raise your premiums for making a claim if the accident was not your fault. This would apply to UM/UIM claims.

The moral of the story: drive safely, and protect yourself against others who don't, by having UM/UIM coverage on your auto insurance policy.

If you have questions, please contact us at http://www.adelmangerman.com

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