Understanding Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

September 27, 2023

When it comes to auto insurance, many of us are familiar with the basics: liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. However, two other types of coverage are often overlooked, yet essential for anyone on the roads, and they are uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. In this article, we’ll define UM and UIM (with and without conversion) coverages, explore what they cover, and discuss why they’re important for every driver on the road.

What Is UM Coverage?

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you when you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. This coverage helps cover medical expenses, lost wages (past and future), payment for short and long-term disabilities, and other accident-related costs such as property damage and even pain and suffering when the at-fault party cannot pay for these expenses. In short, UM coverage protects you, your family, and other passengers in your car from injuries caused by someone who did not buy auto insurance.  UM covers “you.”

What Is UIM Coverage?

Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage comes into play when you’re in an accident with a driver who has insurance but lacks sufficient coverage to pay for all your losses. Without UIM coverage, you may find yourself responsible for the difference between the at-fault driver’s coverage and your actual losses. This could leave you facing significant financial strain during your recovery. 

It is important to note that the protection available under standard UIM coverage is usually reduced by amounts paid by workers’ compensation or by the at-fault driver.  

What is Underinsured Motorists Conversion (UIMC) Coverage?

Under current law, you can “convert” UIM coverage, to UIMC coverage, which, unlike standard UIM coverage, is Not reduced by payments from other sources. Your UIMC coverage will be available for damages not paid should they exceed the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Why You Need UM/UIM Auto Insurance

Many states, like Connecticut, legally require drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage. In Connecticut, it is standard practice that all liability insurers provide UM/UIM coverage that is equal to the liability limits purchased. Where coverage can be reduced to state minimum limits with a signed coverage reduction form, UM/UIM can also be increased to twice the liability limit, and conversion coverage can be purchased for even more protection. Even in states where it’s not mandatory, having this coverage is highly recommended. This comprehensive protection ensures you’re financially secure in the aftermath of an accident, regardless of the other driver’s insurance situation.

According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 12.6 percent of motorists – about 1 in 8 drivers – were uninsured. Due to inflation and increases in auto insurance costs, that number may be rising. UM/UIM car insurance is your safety net, providing crucial protection when you need it most. 

Contact a Brooks, Todd & McNeil Agent Today!

At Brooks, Todd & McNeil, we understand the importance of UM/UIM auto insurance and can help you navigate the complexities of choosing the right coverage for your needs. Our professionalism, wealth of knowledge, and courteous service enable us to tailor insurance for each of our clients and ensure comprehensive coverage on the road — without cutting any corners. To learn more about our auto insurance solutions, contact us today at (800) 448-4567.