The Truth About Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you suffer a serious personal injury, such as a broken neck with paralysis, brain injury, or even a wrongful death in a car accident, drunk driving accident or even a truck accident, there is a good chance that the person who caused your injuries does not have enough insurance to fully and fairly compensate you for all of your injuries. Serious personal injury can lead to huge medical bills, lost wages and possibly the inability to work in the future. If you suffer a wrongful death, who will take care of our family. One way to protect yourself is to buy “Underinsured Motorist Coverage” when you buy your car insurance. This type of insurance pays you when another person causes you injury but does not have enough insurance to fairly compensate you for the injuries they cause you. I recommend that you buy as much of this insurance as you can afford. Your family’s financial well being is worth it.
So let’s say you buy $100,000.00 dollars worth of Underinsured Motorist Coverage. You suffer a serious personal injury as the result of a drunk drivers negligence. Your medical bills total more than $75,000.00 and your lost wages total more than $25,000.00. The drunk driver has the minimum limits of insurance, $25,000.00 dollars. So you think, I am okay, I have $100,000.00 dollars of insurance and the other guy has $25,000.00 so I will recover $125,000.00 which should get me close, but not quite, to full and fair compensation. Right? Wrong!!!! Indiana, our courts have allowed the insurance companies to put anti stacking language in every policy. The anti-stacking language says that your insurance company gets a credit for the amount of coverage the drunk driver has. So in this case, because the drunk driver has $25,000.00 in coverage, your insurance carrier gets a credit for that and only has to pay you $75,000.00 for a total recovery of only $100,000.00 which leaves you with a lot less than full and fair compensation. You might even have to file bankruptcy or sell your home to pay your bills, while the drunk driver and your insurance companies have no other responsibilities.
The only way to protect you and your family is to buy more underinsured motorist coverage, because the insurance companies won’t sell it to your without the anti stacking language. For years, I have been involved with trying to get the legislature to protect Hoosiers by changing this law but the insurance lobby is too powerful and no changes have been made. Just thought you should know.