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Should I Purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Motorist Liability Coverage

Driving uninsured is illegal. The State of Ohio requires all licensed drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. Currently, the minimum insurance requirements are $25,000 per person injured in a single accident, $50,000 for all persons injured in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage caused in a single accident. While this minimum coverage may be sufficient to compensate victims for minor accidents, it is often not enough to fully compensate them for more substantial injuries.

Of course, just because the law requires a driver to carry insurance does not mean they actually will. According to a report published by ABC 6 in Columbus earlier this year, roughly 1-in-8 motor vehicles traveling on Ohio roads are uninsured.

What You Need to Know About UIM Coverage in Ohio

So how can you protect yourself from a driver with no or too-little insurance? One step you can take is to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your own insurance policy. UIM coverage kicks in should you be injured in an accident caused by a driver who lacks sufficient liability coverage to compensate you for your injuries. UIM coverage also commonly protects people injured in “hit-and-run” situations where the police are unable to identify the driver who caused an accident.

Ohio law does not require anyone to purchase UIM coverage. It is completely optional. But if you do elect to purchase UIM coverage, your insurer must offer it at the same limits as your existing liability coverage. Of course, you can always purchase a higher amount of UIM coverage if it is offered.

There are a few things to keep in mind about UIM coverage:

  • You can only file a UIM claim after exhausting the limits of the negligent driver’s insurance coverage, if any exists.
  • Your insurance company cannot raise your premiums if you file a UIM claim, but it may seek to recover any benefits paid from the negligent driver.
  • If you later file your own lawsuit against the negligent driver and obtain a settlement or judgment, your UIM carrier may seek reimbursement for any benefits paid.
  • UIM coverage is available in cases where the negligent driver has legal immunity from civil lawsuits, such as diplomatic immunity.

Contact the Cleveland Personal Injury Lawyers at Tittle & Perlmutter Today

It is also important to note that insurers can–and do–contest UIM claims from their policyholders. In other words, do not assume that just because you were injured in an accident that your insurance company will take your side. To the contrary, the law requires you to still prove the validity of your claim, i.e., that the accident was primarily the fault of the negligent driver. If your UIM carrier disputes this, you may need to go to court to enforce your rights.

This is why you should work with an experienced Cleveland personal injury lawyer before filing a UIM claim. An attorney can review your case and represent your interests should a dispute arise. If you need to speak with a Cleveland personal injury lawyer, call Tittle & Perlmutter at (216) 242-1361 to schedule a free initial consultation.