If you’re like many drivers, you may think of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as something that’s nice to have but not necessary. After all, how often do you get in an accident with an uninsured driver?
Here’s the reality: driving without uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can be a risky proposition. If you’re involved in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you could end up footing the bill for damages yourself. So, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help protect you from major financial losses.
Learn more in this guide from the i.e. Insurance LLC team.
Motorist Coverage Requirements in PA
In Pennsylvania, the law requires motorists to have at least a bare minimum of liability coverage, which includes:
- Medical benefit: $5,000.
- Property damage liability: $5,000.
- Bodily injury liability: $15,000 per person ($30,000 per accident)
If you’re involved in an accident and the other party is at fault, their liability insurance should cover any damages they’ve caused. But many Pennsylvania drivers don’t have car insurance at all or adequate coverage, which means they may be unable to pay for your damages if they’re at fault.
That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes in.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania are required by law to offer you uninsured and underinsured coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. It’s important to know that the specific uninsured motorist coverage available is only for injuries, not for the damage to your vehicle. The repair of your vehicle is considered a collision.
Also called UM coverage, uninsured motorists coverage comes in handy when a driver doesn’t have any insurance coverage and they cause you bodily harm in an accident. This type of insurance protects you financially if you’re in an accident that causes damages like medical expenses, time missed from work, or in some cases a decrease in value for your vehicle.
Suppose you are involved in a hit and run car accident and cannot get the other driver’s information. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in this instance, too.
It’s important to know that there is a four-year statute of limitations for uninsured coverage. The time starts when the claimant asks for compensation in the case of a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured driver.
What is Underinsured Motorists Coverage?
Also called UIM, underinsured motorist coverage pays for the bodily harm and suffering when the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is inadequate to pay for any injuries they might cause you in an accident. So, in that case, the underinsured coverage pays you the remaining amount up to where the at-fault driver’s liability doesn’t cover them.
Like uninsured coverage, it also has the same four-year statute of limitations. But the time for underinsured coverage starts when the auto insurance company denies the liability claim.
What do uninsured and underinsured motorists’ policies cover?
UM, and UIM policies cover medical bills and any loss or suffering caused by bodily injuries. These policies are offered by your auto insurance company and are included for an additional cost in your auto insurance coverage.
Furthermore, UM and UIM provide coverage to the insured, passengers sitting in the car at the time of the accident, any other driver in the car, and the policyholder’s relatives or family living in the same household. However, uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage does not include damages to property in Pennsylvania. This means there is no coverage to repair your vehicle that was damaged by an uninsured driver.
So, in that case, the driver can opt to include collision coverage in their auto insurance policy. An accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver would be considered a not-at-fault accident. In that case, the owner of the vehicle would pay their collision insurance deductible and use their own auto insurance policy to pay for the damages to their vehicle.
Pennsylvania’s Fault vs. No-Fault Policy
Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the injured party can pursue the at-fault driver for compensation. While other states have no-fault options, Pennsylvania is unique in also having a limited tort and full tort selection, which will dictate what the injured party is permitted to recover from the at fault driver.
Moreover, the law also requires the drivers to have PIP (Personal Injury protection) in the form of medical payments coverage because it can cover a specific amount of loss and medical bills if claimed at the time of the accident, regardless of who is actually at fault in that accident. However, it has a limited coverage amount, and the driver should not rely exclusively on medical payments coverage in the event of being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If a person living in Pennsylvania has included the uninsured and underinsured policies in their auto insurance coverage, they would be able to claim the cost up to the limit of policies, which extends beyond PIP coverage.
Stacked versus Non-Stacked Coverage
Now that you’ve selected to purchase coverage against uninsured and underinsured drivers, you’ll have to make the decision as to whether to choose stacking or stacked coverage or non-stacking or non-stacked coverage. Stacked coverage will cost more than non-stacked, but it allows the coverage to multiply by the number of vehicles insured on your policy. If you insure three vehicles on your car insurance and select $100,000 per person for your uninsured motorist coverage limit with stacking, you would actually have up to $300,000 per person for uninsured motorist coverage, which is $100,000 times 3. But, keep in mind that the total dollar amount of coverage will vary based on the number of vehicles insured on your policy at the time of the accident.
If you choose the non-stacked option, there are forms required to be signed to confirm that coverage selection.
Have Questions About Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Policies? We Have Answers!
No one ever plans on getting into an accident, but it happens. Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help protect you and your family in the event of an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance or whose policy doesn’t cover all the damages. At i.e. Insurance LLC, we want to make sure you are fully protected on the road, so please reach out to us if you have any questions about your policy or would like a quote for additional coverage. We’re here to help!
Call us today at 724-719-2093 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.