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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Benefits: Taking a second look due to this winter

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

On January 29 of this year, three inches of snow and ice fell on the city of Atlanta, Georgia.  Despite the dire warnings about the storm, and the forecasts of fast falling snow and ice, the relatively small amount of precipitation paralyzed the ninth largest city in the country.  A massive pileup on Interstate 65 Northbound made the one of the busiest highways in the country look like a truck stop for miles.  Almost 800 vehicle and truck accidents occurred that day, many of them multi-vehicle accidents.

    On February 14 of this year, approximately 30 motorists were injured when over 100 vehicles were involved in massive pileups on the Pennsylvania turnpike.  One pileup alone involved 75 cars and big rigs.  The turnpike was closed for seven hours.  The cause of the accidents appears to have been a thick sheet of ice on the road.

    While these catastrophic accidents may be rare, your Denver Accident Attorney maintains that they demonstrate one of the benefits of carrying uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance: multi-vehicle accidents.  UM and UIM do exactly what they sound like they do; UM insurance covers accidents when the at-fault driver does not have insurance, and UIM insurance will pick up costs that go beyond the insurance limits of the at-fault driver.  In multi-vehicle accidents, there is more of a chance of an uninsured motorist being involved, and if the at-fault driver is underinsured, it is likely that his/her insurance will not cover the injuries sustained by all of the people.

    Your Denver Accident Attorney underscores another reason to carry underinsured motorist insurance:  effective January 2008, the state of Colorado mandated that underinsured motorist insurance would be used to its coverage limits rather than as an offset with the insurance of the at-fault driver.  For example: you carry underinsured motorist insurance with a limit on bodily injury coverage of $50,000; you are hit by a driver whose total insurance coverage is $30,000; you suffer $100,000 worth of bodily injuries.  Prior to 2008, you would only recover the limit of your underinsured motorist policy, or $50,000, and the $30,000 from the at-fault underinsured driver’s policy went to offset that money so that your policy actually only paid $20,00.  Now under Colorado law, given the same set of facts, your policy limit of $50,000 would be combined with the at-fault underinsured driver’s policy limit of $30,000 for a total of $80,000 of benefits toward your $100,000 of bodily injuries.

    There is a third type of uninsured motorist insurance, and it covers damage to the vehicle and to any personal property in the vehicle due to an accident not caused by the policy holder.  However, most auto insurance has collision and comprehensive coverage.  The only major difference is that UIMPD insurance pays for deductibles. 

    A winter like this one can remind us how important it is to be fully protected.  If you have any questions regarding uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits, call your Denver Accident Attorney at Levine Law today.