Underinsurance Coverage (UM)
Underinsurance coverage is automobile insurance you place on your vehicle to protect you or occupants of your vehicle, and in some cases household residents who are not in your vehicle, when injured by another person operating another vehicle without enough coverage. That is to say, when the person causing the accident does not have enough coverage, he or she becomes underinsured and your own underinsurance coverage comes into play.
Simply put, if you are substantially injured in a motor vehicle accident and your case is worth $85,000.00, and the person who caused the accident only has $25,000.00 available, he or she is deemed to be underinsured. After you collect the $25,000.00 that they have available on their insurance policy, you may then pursue the difference of $50,000.00 from your own underinsurance coverage.
In order to successfully pursue underinsurance, automobile owners must make certain to purchase a sufficient amount of underinsurance coverage. This coverage is not expensive, however it can be extremely risky to purchase an inadequate amount that will not protect yourself, occupants of your vehicle, and your family. Larger amounts of underinsurance coverage should be purchased for this reason - such as $250,000.00 per person and $500,000.00 per accident, or $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 per accident.
Rhode Island insurance policies allow an injured person who is not at fault to collect first from the at-fault person's insurance policy, then to collect the balance of his or her damages from the underinsurance coverage. In Massachusetts there is a restriction that limits the amount of underinsurance coverage to an amount that will exist after the at-fault person's insurance is deducted from the underinsurance. For example, in Rhode Island, if you have $100,000.00 underinsurance coverage, and the person who causes the accident has $25,000.00, after you collect the $25,000.00 payment, you are then able to pursue any additional amounts from your own underinsurance coverage. In Massachusetts however, under the same set of facts and utilizing a Massachusetts' underinsurance policy, after you collects from the at-fault person's $25,000.00 coverage you are only allowed to pursue $85,000.00 from your own underinsurance ($100,000.00 underinsurance minus $25,000.00 at-fault person's insurance = $75,000.00).
Regardless of where you live, you should make certain that you purchase sufficient underinsurance coverage in order to protect yourself, the occupants of your vehicle, and your family. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, be sure to seek legal help from a lawyer that is experienced in handling all aspects of motor vehicle accidents and insurance claims. Karns & Kerrison is extremely experienced in handling motor vehicle accidents and motor vehicle insurance both in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and can be reached at (888) 281-3100 for a free consultation.