Working with Insurance Companies after an auto accident: Yours (UM/UIM) and Theirs (BI)

UM/UIM stands for Under/Uninsured Motorist; BI stands for Bodily Injury, you elect UIM coverage through your own insurance; the other parties’ insurance is BI, coverage available for bodily injury to you caused by another driver.

After a motor vehicle accident people are deeply shocked, often times injured, and quite unsure what to do next.

After the shock wears off and your initial injuries have been addressed, you may be thinking about your auto insurance and why you have that UM/UIM policy that the law requires you to have. This is typically called “25/50” because this is the minimum our state of Colorado requires you to have on your car. The $25,000 covers injuries that you cause to another person. The $50,000 covers injuries that you caused in an accident where more than one person is injured.

Conversely, when your injuries are caused by another person, and they are cited and held accountable for the accident, their insurance (BI or Bodily Injury) may only have the minimum of $25,000 to compensate you, or they may not have any insurance at all.

Optional insurance coverages you can choose for yourself are UIM (Under/Uninsured Motorist) and Med Pay (Medical Payments). This insurance is very important and covers you if the other side is either uninsured or under insured. Insurance companies are happy to oblige you if you say you don’t want these extra coverages (they may even suggest you don’t need these additional coverages), due to the additional cost added to your premium, and the cost to them when you make a claim.

Most people are unprepared for the high cost of an Emergency Department visit after a motor vehicle accident. Additionally, the average person is also emotionally and financially unprepared for the cost and time needed for ongoing treatment for their injuries.

So, in a situation where another person has caused an accident where you are injured, you will need to be prepared to seek treatment and pay for that treatment, preferably through your health insurance. When you settle your injury claim after you have reached MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement), as determined by your doctor, your attorney will seek the most compensation available to you. That compensation comes from the Bodily Injury insurance coverage from the person who caused the accident.

If you have chosen to elect Med Pay on your own insurance, you have at least $5,000 to cover the initial medical treatment for your injuries. This med pay coverage is optional, but is important to have to work in conjunction with your health insurance coverage.

Should your treatment exceed $25,000 or whatever coverage that the person who injured you has; and you’ve chosen to elect UIM coverage, then your own UIM coverage may kick in to account for the underinsurance held by the tort feasor, or the person who was at fault for your injuries.

You can’t determine who runs into you, but you can protect yourself with UM/UIM, in case the other side is underinsured or uninsured.

Please think twice (or more) when choosing your insurance coverage. It may not cost very much to elect more coverage than the minimum the state requires. You may also benefit greatly by having Med Pay and Under/Uninsured Motorist coverage. Your insurance carrier may tell you that it is unlikely you will need Med Pay and UIM, therefore saving you money! In the case of even a minor accident caused by another, your choosing to have Med Pay and UIM may be the difference between a financial catastrophe and a comfortable recovery.

If you have suffered injuries as the result of an accident, through no fault of your own, please call Harding & Associates to get a better picture of your rights. We can be reached at 800-878-7888 or 303-762-9500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and assist in developing a strategy to fight to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.