Under Pennsylvania law, everyone who drives any kind of motor vehicle on public roads is required to buy a specific minimum amount of auto insurance coverage to protect themselves and other people after a traffic accident. Despite this rule, many drivers in the Commonwealth drive without any insurance coverage or purchase only the absolute minimum amount mandated by law, which may not be enough to cover the losses sustained by another person involved in a wreck the policyholder caused.
Pennsylvania law requires all automobile insurance providers to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage to everyone looking to purchase a policy. While you’re not required to buy this sort of protection in the same way you’re required to get other types of insurance coverage, here are some of the reasons why you should have UM/UIM insurance coverage.
An Alternative to Filing a Civil Lawsuit
Pennsylvania takes a unique approach to car accident lawsuits compared to other states. One of the most significant unique aspects of state law is how it restricts the rights of people with “limited tort” coverage from filing suit unless they suffered a “serious injury” or qualify for other exceptions. Fortunately, one of those exceptions is if the driver who hit you has no car insurance for you to seek compensation through after the wreck.
Pursuing civil litigation against an uninsured driver can be an especially complicated process. When that driver did not pay for the minimum insurance required by law, they won’t have many assets to contribute toward paying for accident-related injuries. UM/UIM insurance coverage can step in to fill the gap in available compensation and potentially help you avoid a lawsuit altogether.
Protection in the Event of a Hit and Run
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to help drivers hurt in crashes involving other people without insurance coverage of their own. In addition, UM/UIM coverage can also be vital in situations where you don’t know who hit you.
Even when the other party involved in your wreck commits a hit and run and is never identified by police, you should still have access to coverage through your own UM/UIM policy. It’s the same as if you were able to identify a completely uninsured driver who hit you. Either way, you don’t have access to the coverage you should have through the other person involved in the wreck, so your UM/UIM coverage takes its place.
The Possibility of “Stacking” Coverage
One unique benefit to UM/UIM coverage in Pennsylvania is the option you may have to “stack” coverage after a particularly serious accident. The amount of UM/UIM coverage you have can be multiplied by the number of cars you have listed under your coverage, increasing your policy limits. When you have two or three cars within your household, that could mean doubling or tripling the total compensation available to you after a wreck involving an underinsured or uninsured driver.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Attorney About Making the Most of UM/UIM Insurance Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be a lifeline in various situations. When you don’t purchase it in advance, you won’t be able to go back and pay for it once you need it after a serious accident.
A skilled car accident lawyer can answer any additional questions you have about why you should have UM/UIM insurance coverage during a private initial meeting. Call Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers today to discuss your options.