â€śI was in a collision, hurt my back and now need surgery that will cost $78,000.â€ťÂ
This is almost word for word a phone call our law firm received recently. We consulted with the client and determined that the driver at fault only carried a policy of ONLY $50,000. Fortunately, she has UM/UIM (uninsured/underinsured) motorist coverage well above that amount, but it may still not be enough. Without her uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, she would likely have been stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical care. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is an inexpensive buffer against the worst-case scenario of being stuck with a bill for medical care stemming from an auto accident that was someone elseâ€™s fault. Â Â Â Â
Itâ€™s hard not to sound like an insurance agent when you recommend someone buying underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but I still do it every day. I do it because Iâ€™m trying to save that person an expensive life lesson. We get calls every day from people who were hit by an uninsured driver, or a driver that caused a severe collision that they doesnâ€™t have insurance to cover. If this happens to you, and you donâ€™t have underinsured motorist coverage, there is a very low chance you will recover any sort of net compensation at all, and almost no chance you will get what youâ€™d be entitled to should enough coverage be present. Itâ€™s hard to have the conversation where I tell a potential client the biggest value I can add in their case will be to negotiate down their medical bills. Many of these people end up in debt for years or even have to file a bankruptcy for a car accidentÂ they didnâ€™t cause.
â€śIâ€™m a good driver. That wonâ€™t happen to me.â€ť
This is usually the first response I usually hear. Most of my clients are good drivers that got rear-ended when someone behind them wasnâ€™t paying attention. You can be the safest driver in the world and still get injured in a vehicle accident.
â€śBut, the chances of that are so low itâ€™s not worth it to buy.â€ť
This is another response I commonly hear. Are the chances that low? The Insurance Research Council estimated in 2012 that over 16% of all drivers in Washington were uninsured. That figure doesnâ€™t even touch on how many are just carrying minimal limits that can sometimes be inadequate. You donâ€™t want to wait until youâ€™re in a collision to learn this lesson â€“ by then it may already be too late.