It’s a scary thought. Imagine that you are driving on 95 or the Vine Street Expressway. If you have ever driven on these busy roadways, you know that people can tend to drive erratically. You are driving around fully insured when someone cuts into your lane and hits your car. You are injured. Lo and behold, they have no insurance. On the other hand, perhaps they have insurance, but you find out that they are underinsured. It is a frustrating situation that we hope to never find ourselves in.
Underinsured/uninsured benefits, or UIM/UM for short, is a type of benefit provided to you through your car insurance. In the most states, it is illegal to drive without insurance. As we all know, many drivers still drive without insurance, or worse, without a license. If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, what do you do?
If the insurance company won’t cover you, do not hesitate to call on the injury and insurance attorneys at Freundlich & Littman, LLC to take your side.
What are Pennsylvania Drivers Required to Carry?
Pennsylvania drivers are required to carry both liability coverage, for when you are at fault, and medical benefits coverage, regardless of fault. The policies should cover both you and your passengers in case of an accident. Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state. This means that you will be covered regardless of who was at fault. Typically, if you carry “at fault” insurance, you would first look to your own insurance to pay for your medical expenses after an accident. The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles states that this is to prevent lawsuits. As we all know, that is not the case, especially when people drive without insurance.
To make sure that you are not underinsured make sure to have the following in your policy.
- Minimum Medical Benefits: $5,000
- Bodily Injury Liability: $15,000 per person, per accident or $30,000 total per accident
- Property Damage: $5,000 per accident.
What are Uninsured/Underinsured Benefits?
Underinsured/uninsured benefits are benefits provided to you through your insurance company. If you are in an accident with someone who is not insured or do not carry enough insurance to cover the damage done to you or your vehicle, your own insurance policy may kick in to cover the damages.
These policies are not automatic. In the state of Pennsylvania, underinsured/uninsured coverage is no longer mandatory; however, companies are required to have the coverage option in all their policies. Though it is not required, Pennsylvania drivers now have the option to opt out. Prior to finalizing your auto insurance policy, you were likely asked if she wanted to opt out of this coverage. If you did not sign a form opting out, you probably have this coverage as a part of your policy.
What do They Provide?
Generally, these policies will not cover damages to your car or other property. It will cover the medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers.
All insurances policies are different; however, there are certain characteristics that all underinsured/uninsured policies are required to have by law. The money will not exceed the amount someone else would be entitled to through your own insurance policy.
What to do if you are in car accident?
If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation where you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, then do not panic. Make sure to file a police report and obtain the other driver’s insurance information if they have it. At the very least, you can get a copy of the police report which will tell you the other driver’s information. Take that information and contact your insurance company. If able, take pictures of your car and the other drivers.
From there, your insurance company will tell you how to proceed. Typically, your insurance company will cover the costs of the other driver up until a certain amount. If their insurance is lacking or they have no insurance, you may have options for a recovery depending on what kind of insurance coverage you have.
You may be called to testify, give a deposition, or be present for an examination under oath. Do not panic. This is standard procedure; however, if your insurance company refuses to pay for benefits that you are entitled to under your policy, do not hesitate to seek a legal opinion.
If an insurance company is refusing to provide you with adequate coverage, do not panic. If you need assistance in the form of advice or representation, do not hesitate to reach out for responsible and dedicated legal counsel. You can seek out Freundlich & Littman, LLC. We can provide you with years of legal expertise and guidance through the entire process. Call our injury and insurance attorneys today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.