The Insurance Research Council predicts that the ongoing national economic difficulties are resulting in an increasing number of uninsured drivers out on our roads. Data compiled by IRC suggest that a rise in the unemployment rate of 1 percent results in a corresponding increase of uninsured drivers nationally by 3/4 of a percent.
It is anticipated that the current rise in unemployment will increase the percentage of uninsured drivers nationwide to 16 percent in 2010. The latest statistics from the Ohio Insurance Institute reflect that about 70% of all collisions involving uninsured drivers are caused by their negligence. Add the fact that a large percentage of drivers currently carry only minimum state required insurance limits (Ohio per person minimum limit is 12,500) and it becomes clear that a significant threat is posed by the chance of a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What can you do to protect yourself? Buy Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) Motorists coverage. It’s cheap, and in the face of the rising number of uninsured motorists, it becomes more valuable by the day.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can pay for injuries to you and your passengers, and in some locations damage to your property, when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered “uninsured” or “underinsured.”
An uninsured driver is someone who did not have any insurance, had insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. A hit-and-run driver also counts as uninsured as it relates to bodily injury (UMBI).
An underinsured driver is someone who had insurance that met minimum legal requirements, but did not have payment limits high enough to pay for the damage caused by the accident. In these situations, UM or UIM can pay you for your damages. It is important to note that uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are separate, although in many states they can or must be purchased together.
The Insurance Information Institute’s Vice President, Carolyn Gorman, extols the virtues of UM/UIM. “You absolutely need this coverage, because, if you get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance or doesn’t have enough of it, you want to be made financially whole again. You have to protect yourself fiscally and physically, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection can help you in that regard.”
It’s usually relatively cheap to add this coverage to your car insurance, especially considering the amount of protection it offers. It could pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If someone hits you or your car and is legally responsible for the damages, you won’t get any money from them if they don’t have money to give you. If you have UM/UIM, you can get money even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough.