February 20th, 2013

What is a UIM claim in Pennsylvania?

What is a UIM Claim?

An “underinsured” insurance coverage claim (UIM) is a claim an insured person makes against their own car insurance company. It is a contract claim based on the car insurance policy. Many people in Pennsylvania purchase UIM or UM (uninsured) motorist coverage.

In Pennsylvania, the most common UIM/UM limits are $100,000 or $300,000 and cannot generally exceed the bodily limits coverage. For instance, you generally cannot buy a car insurance policy with $15,000 bodily injury coverage and $300,000 UIM/UM coverage. Bodily injury coverage protects you from claims other people make against you for your negligence in causing an accident.

UIM/UM coverage allows the insured person and certain members of their household to make legal claims to recover for injuries suffered as a result of a car or truck accident which was caused by another driver.

For example, let’s say you get seriously hurt in a car or truck accident caused by another driver who is covered by an insurance policy with minimal bodily injury limits. If you have UIM/UM coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may be able to make a UIM claim under that policy to obtain financial recovery for your injuries, up to the amount of the limits purchased. It is a UIM claim because the other, negligent driver was “underinsured,” i.e., didn’t have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries. That is the nature of UIM coverage.

A UM or “uninsured” coverage claim works the same way, except that it applies in situations when the other, negligent driver had no insurance at all. So, for example, if you get into an accident as a result of a 16 year old kid who borrowed his parents’ car without their permission, this is likely to be an uninsured situation. Since the negligent party has no insurance, your own policy kicks in to provide UM coverage so that you can obtain financial recovery for your injuries.

It is important to note that there are several exclusions to UIM/UM coverage. One very common exclusion is the regular use, non-owned vehicle exclusion. You should speak to a qualified Pennsylvania car and truck accident lawyer about making an underinsured or uninsured claim before taking any action in your case.

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