What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

two people looking at the damage of the vehicles after the crash

3 Things to Know About UM/UIM Coverage

Under California insurance law, providers are required to offer all motorists Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). When offered this policy, it is not uncommon for motorists to have many questions about what this coverage is and what it entails.

Here are three of the most commonly asked questions and your answers:

What Does It Cover?

In its simplest definition, UM/UIM coverage was created to ensure that motorists are protected in collisions involving uninsured motorists or those who don't have liability coverage. Although California doesn't require this as part of the policy, several states and Washington D.C. have made this a mandatory addition to any insurance package.

What are the Three Kinds of UM/UIM Coverage?

California drivers can choose from three different options (or have all) that are defined as such:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) - covers injuries for anyone in your vehicle and has a policy limit equal to your liability coverage.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) - covers property damages and has a limit of $3,500.
  • Underinsured Motorist - covers some bodily injury costs.

Many motorists find that retaining all three forms of this coverage is the safest option in a state with only a 16.6% insured population (one of the highest in the country).

What Happens If I Reject It?

If choosing not to retain it, your insurance company will require you to sign a waiver saying that you reject this coverage. Although there are no negative consequences from the insurance provider for waiving this, you may find that you and your loved ones are less protected following an accident with an uninsured motorist, including having higher out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment.

However, the decision of whether or not you should have UM/UIM coverage does not diminish your ability to pursue legal action for the injuries caused by another driver.

How Our Chico Attorneys Can Help

Peters, Habib, McKenna, Juhl-Rhodes & Cardoza, LLP has been committed to serving California motorists for over 100 years and is well-known in the Chico area for protecting the rights of our clients. If you or a loved one was involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist and sustained an injury, call (530) 342-3593 to get in touch with a member of our team to discuss your legal options.