This article is by Marc Albert, Long Island personal injury lawyer. The answer to this question largely depends on your state of residence, as some states require one or the other type of insurance on all auto policies. Arizona is not one of those states, but drivers can choose to add the rider to their policy for a nominal premium increase. The rates are usually reasonable and make an excellent policy addition when an individual has the resources to carry higher insurance coverage than the 15/30/15 policies required in Arizona. This low minimum means that many accidents will result in injury treatment bills far exceeding the insurance maximum coverage, so having extra personal insurance protection is often necessary for many motorists who need comprehensive damage protection. Even though states have stepped up their enforcement of their automobile insurance compliance policy, many drivers still find a way to drive unregistered and uninsured in addition to those who do not carry sufficient insurance coverage. When the benefit is compared to the expense, it makes little sense to purchase insurance without the policy rider.
Advantages of UIM/UM Coverage
The first obvious advantage of the the policy rider is the extra financial pool that could be available following a serious accident. Medical bills can total $15,000 quickly in the modern healthcare market, and there is no such thing as too much insurance protection. In addition, in fault accident states such as Arizona, accident victims still have the legal standing to sue a negligent driver for any outstanding damages as well, including pain-and-suffering damages in serious accidents. The UIM/UM is just extra insurance that is also available for addition at any time. It can also be added at renewal time, but you may have to ask for the additional policy rider. Many insurance companies do not use it as a selling point for customers.
Disadvantages if UIM/UM Coverage
The primary initial disadvantage of the extra insurance protection is the increased premium cost, but it is well worth the investment when it is needed. One disadvantage is that claims that also include uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage will almost always go to court on some level, meaning that an experienced auto accident attorney will be necessary for the injured claimant who wants and needs full compensation for their injuries. This is especially true in very serious accident cases that result in long-term or catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Another disadvantage for serious accident cases is that pain-and-suffering damages are exclusively assigned to an at-fault negligence driver. The court system often must issue a ruling stating the additional coverage applies when insurance companies think they can avoid the extra coverage, even when it is your own insurance company that is required to pay the claim. This could easily put an injured claimant in an adversarial situation with their own insurance company, and having an experienced personal injury and car accident attorney means you have your own legal team ensuring all of your rights to financial recovery from all respondent parties are enforced.
While some accident cases are obvious in terms of fault and responsibility for damages, the potential for complicated claims still arises in rural states like Arizona when bad crashes happen in remote locations that may involve multiple drivers. This is especially true when commercial vehicles or big-rig trucks are part of the accident. Trucking companies and corporations always try to control the whole settlement process from the very beginning and have no obligation to injured victims beyond paying as little damages as possible. Accident claims involving multiple drivers with assorted comparative negligence among the drivers creates a scenario where the case will not be settled completely for a long time. When injured drivers also have uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, determining who ultimately must pay gets even more convoluted. This also means that handling a case personally is out of the question, and is especially true if a case must go to trial for a full declaration on available damages.
It is always very important to have effective and aggressive representation when attempting to collect damages following an accident. Even when the insurance company is your own company, there may be more damages available than you realize after an attorney does an investigation and reconstruction of your accident. Always get an accident professional who knows what to expect.