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Daniel Buckfire
Daniel Buckfire
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Underinsured Motorist Insurance Advice

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As a lawyer whose firm represents clients injured in motorcycle accidents, my clients and other individuals often ask me about types of insurance they should buy for their motorcycles. I am always happy to review someone’s insurance policy and give them my recommendation.

Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is one of the most important, but least understood, parts of any insurance package. UIM insurance is similar to uninsured motorist insurance in that both types of policies fills in gaps left open by the failure of another person to fully insure their own negligence.

Underinsured motorist insurance is used when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident with an insured vehicle, but the insurance coverage is minimal or insufficient to fully compensate the injured motorcyclist for injuries sustained in the accident. As with uninsured motorist coverage, the injured motorcyclist files a claim with his or her own insurance company to make up for the other driver’s shortfall.

For example, in Michigan, many drivers only have $20,000 minimum in insurance coverage, which is the minimum amount required by law. Suppose a motorcyclist was involved in an accident with someone who has only $20,000 in coverage and that unfortunately, the motorcyclist’s medical bills alone cost over $45,000 and the motorcyclist had to miss work for 6 months while undergoing rehabilitation and physical therapy. Without UIM coverage, that motorcyclist could only receive up to $20,000 in compensation for his or her injuries and would have to bear the additional cost of the injuries without any help. But if the motorcyclist had purchased a UIM policy for $500,000, then he or she could claim the difference between their UIM policy’s limit and the amount that was covered by the other driver’s insurance. In this example, that would be up to an extra $480,000.

Underinsured motorist coverage is very inexpensive and, as this example shows, is an extremely important part of an insurance package. I always recommend that people purchase a very large amount of UIM insurance since some policies offer $500,000 of coverage for around $80 per year and since there are so many drivers with only the bare minimum level of insurance. If your insurance company does not offer Underinsured Motorists coverage, I strongly suggest that you change to a company that offers UIM insurance. This is often the difference between a fair settlement or a minimal settlement.

Every biker in Michigan should request and read our FREE Michigan Motorcycle Insurance Report before getting on his or her bike. It is important to buy the proper insurance coverage before you get into an accident. Once you are in accident, you are stuck with what you were sold, even if you thought you were getting the best coverage at the time.