Many clients who come to our office unfortunately do not have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) insurance coverage. Most of those times, the client simply does not know what UIM is, or it was never fully explained to him or her. “Do I need UIM coverage?” is a question we answer frequently. The short answer is, “Yes.” You do need UIM coverage. UIM coverage is vital to adequately protecting yourself from unforeseen injury and damages.
UIM coverage is insurance coverage that kicks in when the person who injures you either does not have any insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the cost of your injuries. (Hence the name “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage.) Let’s say that you are in a car crash caused by someone else. Your damages are $50,000.The other person, then, rightfully owes you $50,000 to compensate you for your injuries. If the other person does not have insurance, though, you might not have any way to get the money you are owed. Most people don’t have $50,000 lying around to pay someone, so if the person who caused the crash does not have insurance, you may be out of luck. Or, if the person who caused the crash only has $25,000 in insurance coverage (or any amount less than $50,000), that would not be enough to cover your damages.
With UIM coverage, you can use your insurance policy to pay the damages you suffered because of the person who did not have any insurance. Let’s say, for example, that you have a $50,000 UIM policy. In the above example where your damages from the crash are $50,000, then you are covered! It does not matter if the person who hit you has insurance coverage because you can use your own coverage if the person does not.
UIM coverage is so important that, in Colorado, insurance companies are required to offer you UIM coverage in an amount equal to your liability policy when they first issue an insurance policy to you.The policy must include UIM coverage unless the person buying insurance affirmatively rejects that coverage in writing. So in every car insurance policy issued in Colorado, there should either be UIM coverage or a written rejection of that coverage.
UIMcoverage is relatively cheap to add to your insurance policy. And when you think about the benefit you get from that policy for the money you will spend on your premium, it is an easy decision to purchase UIM coverage. Too many times, we have seen clients or potential clients get seriously injured by someone who does not have insurance and does not have the money or assets to pay for the damage. When those clients or potential clients don’t have insurance of their own, they are facing a difficult reality: they are seriously hurt but do not have any way to be compensated for their injuries and damages.The lost wages, the medical bills, it all can add up to a tremendous amount of debt.
Check your insurance policy to see if you have UIM coverage. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we offer free consultations, and we’re happy to talk with folks about their coverage and answer any questions they might have. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, call the lawyers at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard! Life happens. We can help.
C.R.S. § 10-4-609(2),(3)
Id. § 10-4-609(1)