Why Should You Carry UM/UIM Insurance?
Because insurance contracts tend to be complicated and expensive, many people approach auto insurance shopping with one goal in mind — to pay as little as possible. Unfortunately, they often misunderstand what their coverage actually provides and overlook options that can give them the protection they need. For example, no matter how high your liability coverage limits, you are not covered by a Basic Policy if you are injured by the negligence of another driver.
New Jersey law requires every driver to have at least a certain amount of insurance coverage through a Basic Policy:
- $5,000 per incident for property damage liability protection
- $15,000 per accident for personal injury protection (PIP), and up to $250,000 for certain injuries
Medical bills and other expenses quickly mount, and PIP benefits rarely suffice for serious or even moderate injuries. If the driver who caused your accident has minimum coverage — or worse, no insurance at all — your ability to obtain compensation may be seriously limited, no matter how strong your case or serious your injuries.
Fortunately, New Jersey insurance companies are required to offer the option of uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage up to your own liability limits. UM steps in and compensates you if you are injured by an uninsured motorist. UIM can be used if the at-fault party has insurance, but your damages exceed the person’s liability limits and other available coverage.
While UM/UIM coverage does cost extra, it is money well spent if you are injured in an accident, especially as more people in New Jersey risk minimum coverage or forgo insurance entirely. If you have been injured in an auto accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can carefully review your policy to see if you have purchased UM/UIM coverage, are covered under another involved policy or otherwise qualify for UM/UIM protection under the law.