By: Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks, Esq.
Make sure you take a moment TODAY to REVIEW your auto insurance policy. There are multiple reasons to do so which I will blog more about in the future. But today, I want you to check on your UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST (UIM) coverage. You may save money by having a low UIM coverage but it can crush you financially in the case of a future auto accident.
In nearly every state, car insurance is mandatory. Since car insurance is mandated by law, often consumers want to satisfy the legal requirement at the lowest rate possible. Car insurance companies often advertise to consumers that they can save 15% on their car insurance, or call today to save $500 off your policy. This can sound very attractive, because we all want to save money where we can. Be careful when you call to save 15% in 15 minutes. Having under-insured coverage may save you more than 15%! Let me tell you why.
I had a client recently come into my office. She was rear ended in an auto accident on her way home from work. Her trunk was smashed into the front seat. The pictures of the vehicle were awful, her car is a total loss. When she came in to meet with me, I had to turn off the lights in the conference room. She was sensitive to light, dizzy, vomiting, has constant headaches. She went to see a neurologist and was diagnosed with a concussion, and is suffering from extreme jaw pain–Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). She will be out of work for at least 2 months. After meeting with the client, I went to check on the policy limits for the at-fault driver. It was only $30,000. That means, that the maximum recovery my client can recover is $30,000, UNLESS she has adequate UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE(UIM), or the defendant has personal assets.
What is Under Motorist Coverage?
An under-insured driver: The defendant driver and vehicle do not have enough liability insurance to fully compensate the injured. Currently in Maryland, the plaintiff is entitled to recover only the difference between the amount recovered from the injured insured from the defendant carrier and his or her under-insured motorist limits.
$30,000 is the policy limit for the adverse driver. My client has $30,000 in under-insured motorist coverage. In Maryland, she can still only recover $30,000. There is no stacking in Maryland.
If my client had $100,000 in Under-insured Motorist Coverage, then she the maximum recovery would be $100,000. $30,000 for the adverse driver’s policy, and the remaining $70,000 could come from her under-insured motorist coverage.
In Maryland, the minimum policy limits an at-fault driver can have is $30,000, and in the District, it is only $25,000. It is very important to check your policies to make sure you have the proper coverage. Call your insurance agent, and review your auto insurance policy. Make sure YOU understand your insurance coverage, before you need it.
Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks, Esq. is the managing partner at GDH Law. GDH Law represents auto accident personal injury, business, and civil litigation clients in Maryland and Washington, DC. Contact us at 301-769-6835.
We’ll fight for you, the GDH way…the only way!!