Uninsured and under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is there to protect you from the negligence of the world's drivers. Plain and simple, it is there to protect you in cases where the at-fault driver has either no insurance or has insufficient coverage to pay for your bodily injuries and associated damages.
Alabama state law requires driver's to maintain minimum liability and UM/UIM coverages ($25,000 per person, and $50,000 in the aggregate). However, there is a caveat in the law that states an insured can expressly waive their right to UM/UIM coverage. This is a complete and utter failure of the state legislature.
UM/UIM coverage is relatively cheap and can mean the difference between recovering something and not recovering at all in cases where a negligent, at-fault driver caused you bodily harm. I cannot begin to tell you the number of clients who I have represented who have been affected by either their foresight in choosing to maximize their UM/UIM coverages, and represented those who, to their detriment, failed to have adequate coverage. Like I said, this coverage is cheap, and can make a world of difference.
For illustrative purposes, imagine that you are broad-sided by someone who ran a red light. Imagine that this driver is driving with a suspended license, and has no insurance. Now, imagine that you are hospitalized with serious injuries, cannot go to work for weeks, and the medical bills begin to rack up. Now, let's imagine that you have adequate UM/UIM coverage on your policy. Since there is no insurance there for the at-fault driver, your insurer and your UM/UIM coverage will now "step into the shoes" of the at-fault party, and provide an avenue of recovery for you.
What is adequate coverage? Well, that all depends on you, your income, your lifestyle, etc. The state mandates that you carry a minimum of $25,000 in UM/UIM coverage per person or $50,000 in the aggregate. This is not enough for the vast majority of folks. I would, personally, not want this minimal coverage. That is the "failure" I mentioned by our state legislature. These minimal limits need to be raised and doubled in my opinion. A "good" policy to me would provide at least $100,000 in both liability and UM/UIM coverage.
If you are not sure if you have UM/UIM coverage on your policy, I would encourage you to immediately call your agent and ask if you have this coverage. You may also request a copy of your auto policy. Your coverages should be clearly listed.
If you only have state minimally required coverages, you may want to strongly consider raising your policy limits. Again, increasing your UM/UIM coverages is relatively cheap, but could mean the world when dealing with an uninsured or under-insured at-fault party after an accident.
As always, contact us if you have any questions about your claim or potential claim. We want to be the ones you trust. Lean on us!