According to the most recent statistics provided by the Insurance Information Institute (2012), 11% of driver's are uninsured in Arizona. That means that just over 1 in 10 drivers don't have insurance, at all. Nationally that number is closer to about 12%. There are probably many more that are under-insured, but until there is an accident, we don't actually know if a driver had enough insurance. So, long ago insurance companies invented this thing called uninsured and under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Essentially, this coverage is provided by YOUR insurance company to act as if the OTHER GUY had insurance or enough insurance to cover the damage they caused. State laws vary about how this is treated, so we are going to focus on Arizona for a second. In Arizona UM/UIM coverage does not protect your vehicle for the physical damage, if you want that you need Comprehensive and Collision coverage. However, UM/UIM does provide coverage are for your medical bills, loss of earnings, pain , suffering, and other personal injury damages. It also can provide the same coverage if you are a victim of a hit-and-run situation. UM/UIM is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT; here is are 4 reasons why.
- Its a law that its offered - In Arizona, UM/UIM, must be offered to clients, and clients must accept or reject this coverage in writing. It is mandatory to purchase liability if you will be driving on public roads, but it is mandatory that UM/UIM must be offered. I believe reasons 2, 3 and 4 explain why.
- State minimum limits are too low - Arizona's state minimum limits are 15/30/10. Meaning that if you get in an accident and the other guy has "just what the state requires" you have a total of $15,000 to cover your medical bills. On a side note, I think that's about the cost to get a hang nail treated these days, so imagine if you got really hurt.
- This coverage is for catastrophic events - There are two types of injuries, those that you take an anti-inflammatory for, and all others. When UM/UIM coverage is triggered its usually because someone was seriously injured in a car accident. Meaning the insurance companies aren't usually paying out $20 UM/UIM claims.
- My Experience - Let me take this personal for a second. My wife has a leg worth 1 million dollars from a boating accident. I know, completely unrelated, or is it? Stick with me for a second. My wife was injured wake boarding. She fell in a very routine manner. In fact, when we came around we asked her if she wanted to go again. She very calmly said she was "broken" and as we looked into the water we understood what she meant. She had dislocated her knee tearing all the ligaments, but one, and was bleeding. She was rushed to the ER, helicoptered to a trauma center, and underwent surgery that night. Long story short she almost lost her leg. She was able to keep it after 8 surgeries. At the time, we had 5 kids. While my wife was in surgery I was left in a waiting room. Understanding the gravity of the situation, I wondered how I would be able to work. How I would keep my Job. How I would be Dad and Mom through recovery and rehab. Our family lives in a rural area. I imagined all the follow up appointments, missed days at work, cost to drive back and forth to the doctors. Now, let's pretend it was a car accident. Imagine getting a check for $15,000. Yeah, you may have other insurance for that, but health insurance doesn't cover all the personal injury you know other stuff, but UM/UIM does. Remember UM/UIM covers medical bills, other out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. That's HUGE.
We never know what life holds. My wife is okay, we are blessed with Family that helped us, but stuff happens, and we purchase insurance to protect us. UM/UIM can help in these crazy situations, and we STRONGLY RECOMMEND you purchase it.